Grammys Marriage Ceremony: A note in the right direction

Ana Espinoza, News Editor

The Grammy Awards, if not lauded for their spectacular recognition of independent music labels, succeed in capturing the American public’s short attention span every February.  In wake of the popularity of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ single “Same Love,” this year’s program featured a mass marriage of 33 couples of varied sexual orientations.

The ceremony was officiated by Queen Latifah, overseen by Macklemore and Lewis, and altar-sung by Madonna in a white tuxedo.

The event was decidedly heartwarming, but it’s timing, as well as it’s very public nature, raises questions over the true extent of the music industry’s support of gay rights. Since its release in 2013, “Same Love” has sold over 2 million copies. In the past two years, state legislatures and the Supreme Court have granted non-straight individuals in ten states the right to marry the people they love.  HBO began airing a series about a group of gay friends in, yes, San Francisco.  For good reason, the gay rights movement is trending.

And the Grammys, in a stab getting more viewers than the Academy Awards, banked on that trend.  28.5 million people sat down in front of their television screens to watch the 2014 Grammy Awards: the show’s second-highest viewership ever.

The circumstances of the marriage ceremony also cast doubt on the authenticity of the gesture.  Namely, that this very personal milestone was shared with the aforementioned 28.5 million people and followed shortly by a round of commercials. Even so, the stunt had more substance than attention-grabbers of Grammys past.

“I think that these award shows all have their share of ‘moments,’ like when Kanye interrupted Taylor Swift, but all of those moments are hyped for a weekend and then die out,” said junior Sandra Riano. “This marriage, it’s not going to hype out; it’s a major controversy right now. I mean, are any of those moments ever appropriate on these shows? But this marriage symbolizes something about our generation and the war on humanitarian rights. It’s much more important and it grabbed the attention of whoever was watching it.”

There has also been debate surrounding Macklemore’s contributions to the music industry, rap music in particular. Nonetheless, the moral of the human rights story is that the ceremony and “Same Love” are promising signs of cultural acceptance for the gay rights movement. It even calls to mind Elton John’s 2001 Grammy duet with Eminem, who is often accused of writing homophobic lyrics.

This is true regardless of how many people watched the Oscars or how Kendrick Lamar was, like, totally more deserving of the Best Rap Album Grammy. Schreiber parent Steve Gawley is a music executive who attended the awards ceremony.

“Witnessing this marriage ceremony of all these wonderful couples was one of the most moving experiences I have ever seen seen in person,” said Gawley. “The feeling in the room at that time was unlike anything I have ever witnessed before at the show.”