The show-stopping moment of the 56th annual Grammy Awards was the live nuptials of 33 couples, a mix of gay and straight, who tied the knot during a performance of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ same-sex marriage anthem “Same Love.”
Queen Latifah officiated the ceremony, while Madonna joined the crowd on stage for “Same Love” and a rendition of “Open Your Heart.” The moment marked a remarkably overt political statement for the Grammycast, albeit one for a cause that has broad support throughout the entertainment industry.
Grammy producers went to great lengths to pull off the live wedding, which focused on a ring exchange as the couples lined up facing each other on stage. Latifah had to go through the official process of becoming licensed to perform weddings by Los Angeles County prior to Sunday’s telecast in order to lend authenticity to the stunt.
As the couples filed off the stage, plenty of audience members at Los Angeles’ Staples Center were seen wiping tears from their eyes.
“This song is not a love song for some of us but for all of us,” said Latifah at the start of the segment.
“Same Love” has taken on a life of its own as a same sex anthem, with lyrics like “If I was gay, I would think hip-hop hates me / Have you read the YouTube comments lately?” Lewis told the New York Times that the weddings ““will be in our minds the ultimate statement of equality, that all the couples are entitled to the same exact thing.”
One of the couples married included Lewis’ sister, Laura, who was already engaged to her boyfriend Alex.
“A night that is already tremendous for me, for the music,” Lewis told the New York Times, “but to have my sister get married and my family there watching it — that makes it a whole other level of amazing.”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis took home four awards, including best new artist, best rap song and best rap album.