Full Transcript



“A 5-4 decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, total victory for the advocates of same-sex marriage.” 


“Hear the cheer in the crowd a very dramatic moment here, a 5-4 decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy. This is a total victory for the advocates of same-sex marriage.”



Hello, and welcome back to Protest Anthems. On June 26, 2015, love won when same-sex marriage was legalized in all 50 states. Same-sex marriage has a long history of contention. In 2003, president George W. Bush announced his disapproval of gay marriage. That same year, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage. This was followed by San Francisco issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2004, as well as New Paltz in New York despite the lack of legislation on it in those states. The first fully legal gay marriage took place on May 17, 2004 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Throughout the years between 2004 and 2009, states passed legislation banning same-sex marriage. In 2012, President Barack Obama openly endorsed same-sex marriage, and from here, states began legalizing the act.

In 2013, two years before the monumental supreme court decision, hip-hop artists Macklemore and Ryan Lewis got away from their typical pop/hip-hop style and teamed up with Mary Lambert to release the song “Same Love,” an anthem as Alex Hargrave discusses in this episode, that calls for marriage to be legal for everyone.


Macklemore and Ryan Lewis came together in Seattle in 2008 and became famous from their 2012 album “The Heist” that “Same Love” was a track on. Macklemore raps about misconceptions about the gay community, the Catholic church and other opponents of the LGBTQ+ community.

“Same Love” along with the rest of the duo’s album “The Heist” falls into the rap / hip-hop genre. This genre is well-known for bringing up social justice issues, mostly those relating to systemic racism that is characteristic of songs by black rappers. Same-sex marriage isn’t exactly an issue rappers are creating songs about. In fact, Macklemore raps in “Same Love”


“If I was gay, I would think hip-hop hates me / Have you read the YouTube comments lately? / man that’s gay gets dropped on the daily, / we become so numb to what we’re saying.”


He said that it’s the language in rap songs that is problematic. 


“The hip-hop community, and holding myself in the hip-hop community accountable, is what I cared about. That’s my community, that’s who I see to be oppressing gay people. The f-word, and saying ‘that’s gay’ and homophobia are still rampant in the hip-hop community.”


A really important aspect of this song is its 7 minute long video that Macklemore and Mary Lambert make appearances in, and Ryan Lewis directed. The video starts off with a mother giving birth to a child in a hospital. The video takes you through the baby’s childhood years, up into the teenage years. The teen struggles to deal with his sexuality, as he’s hiding it from his family and his friends. The video takes us into his adulthood where he finally comes out with his partner to his parents and to the rest of the world. In the end, the two get married and live happily ever after. The video ends back in the hospital where one partner is supporting the other who’s in a hospital bed.

Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert pushed the envelope with “Same Love” and they were rewarded for it. “Same Love” was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2014 Grammy Awards, Best Lyrics at the 2014 IHeartRadio Music Awards and won Best Video with a Social Message at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards.

These artists made a splash at awards shows with their performances of the song in addition to the big wins. The 2014 Grammys saw Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert on a stage decorated like a church. Just before the bridge, Queen Latifah made her way on stage with 33 couples who would be married on stage. Madonna soon joined them on stage to sing “Open your heart” with a choir backing her. She then joined Mary Lambert in her ending of “Same Love.” It was one of those performances that people were talking about the next day due to all of the theatrics and surprises. The three put on another incredible performance at the 2013 VMA Awards. Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert took the stage and sang “Same Love” with a guest appearance from Jennifer Hudson who sang with Lambert, most memorably the line “I’m not crying on Sundays.”


Lambert said in an interview with Mic Network… 


“I think [the line] ‘not crying on Sundays’ is such a proclamation. And for us to be saying that back and forth to each other, I feel like it really really united this fight. And to have her support for the LGBT community, it was just kind of incredible.”


In these performances, Mary Lambert really got to be front and center with her impressive vocals and heart wrenching lyrics. She is the heart of this song, and that’s because she can relate to this song as a gay woman. Lambert did a Q&A with the publication American Songwriter in 2014 where she explained her inspiration for the chorus.


I was raised Pentecostal, and went to an evangelical high school. I came out when I was 17. Coming out in the church and going through high school was one of the most terrible, awful experiences. And then to be part of a community that tells you that you’re gonna go to hell is awful. I was really depressed. But I still continued to go to church. I knew I couldn’t change myself. I had always been attracted to women. But at least I could apologize. And I apologized to the community and I apologized to God. It was a ritual to repent every day, and apologize for being gay. I would be sitting in church and crying. I cried every Sunday for a year. But then gradually, I woke up out of it, and stopped going to that church. I was in prayer and closer to God. So when they sent me the song, I felt this was a real gift, because this was my story. I felt I was supposed to write this song.”


Before she wrote the chorus, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis hadn’t even met with Lambert, who was working three jobs while doing small gigs. She presented it to them when she met them, they loved it, and the rest is history.


“I can’t change, even if i tried, even if I wanted to / my love, my love, my love, she keeps me warm, she keeps me warm.”


Macklemore is a straight white man, which has caused some people to wonder whether he should be singing about LGBTQ+ rights. Lambert thinks this is short sighted, because as she told Mic Network, he can’t change his demographic, and “Same Love” is, quote, ‘an anthem for allies.’ He uses his platform to advocate for change. Macklemore said he was inspired to write this song when he read about a 13 year old boy who was bullied and killed himself, all because he was gay. He’s also no stranger to the gay community. 


“I have hella gay uncles. On my dad’s side, out of four brothers, two of those brothers are gay. And then they have their respective partners, and I consider those my uncles as well, so that makes four gay uncles. I have a gay godfather, his partner…”


The “Same Love” music video ends with a screen that reads ‘Same Love, support marriage equality, approve Referendum 74.’ So, what is referendum 74? It is The Washington State Same Sex Referendum was a statewide ballot in Washington that asked voters if same-sex marriage should be legalized in the state of Washington. It was approved and went into effect on December 6, 2012. This was significant as it was a public vote, showing that civilians support same-sex marriage.

Troubles with same-sex marriage were not only legal, but also religious. The Catholic Church has a long history of homophobia.


“The right-wing conservatives think it’s a decision, / that you can be cured with some treatment and religion, / man-made rewiring of a predisposition”


To break these lyrics down a bit, the common misconception was, and still is to some people, that being gay is a choice. Good Catholic parents who find out their good Catholic child is gay might send their kid to conversion therapy, where this child goes to therapy to become straight, because being gay is considered a mental illness.

According to The Trevor Project, more than 700,000 LGBTQ+ people have been through it, and counting. This therapy increases anxiety and depression in LGTBQ youth, as it affirms the idea that it’s not normal to be gay, it’s not okay to be gay, and that they aren’t gay. They just think they are. 


“God loves all his children is somehow forgotten / but we paraphrase a book written 3500 years ago.”


Why do Catholics struggle so much with homosexuality? It all goes back to the bible. “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. – Leviticus 20:13.” This verse makes it pretty clear that homosexuality is not okay. Catholicism stems from the Bible, so it’s easy for very religious people to believe these words about same-sex relationships.

Religious people, people who walk with God are supposed to spread love, God is supposed to spread love, but not to the gay community. It’s probable that the day a church performs a same-sex marriage ceremony will be the day hell freezes over.

Though the Catholic church doesn’t have many outward supporters of the LGBTQ+ community, support for the group is growing exponentially, and artists have tackled it before, and some are following Macklemore’s lead in putting out music about it.



In 1980, Diana Ross released “I’m Coming Out.” She’s described by Billboard as “a gay icon” for this song as well as her open support of the community over the years. It’s a song about coming out, and being yourself, similar to the message put out by Macklemore 33 years later with “Same Love.”

Closer to the release of “Same Love” is Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way” that came out in 2011. Gaga lets her listeners know that it’s ok to be who you are, no matter who that may be. The lyrics that make it an anthem at pride rallies everywhere. Gaga asserts that God makes no mistakes, so this community should be accepted.

The same year that “Same Love” hit airwaves, Mary Lambert put out a song of her own called “She keeps me warm.”



From the “Same Love” chorus, Lambert wrote a whole song with its own video that depicts a typical love story between two women. She stars in the video, which she said in an interview with MTV was important for her as a plus sized woman. 


“The music video for “She keeps me warm, my intention with the video is I just wanted to make a love story that just happened to be about two women.”


Since “Same Love” came out, same-sex marriage has been legalized in the United States and attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community have generally improved. In 2001, the gay marriage approval rating based on a Pew Research Center polling was only 35%, with 57% expressing their disapproval. A 2017 polling showed that 62% of Americans support same-sex marriage, which signifies a vast improvement in tolerance. But, it’s not over for this marginalized population.


“I might not be the same, but that’s not important / no freedom till we’re equal, / damn right I support it.”


Like Macklemore says, no law is gonna change us, we have to change us. 


“You can only watch injustice go on for so long until you get involved, until you say something. I finally was like, you know what, this is an issue that I feel strongly about, that I feel passionate about, these are human beings, they should have the exact same rights as everybody else. I wrote it as honestly and and as direct and personal as I possibly could.”


With “Same Love” Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert offer a counter narrative to the typical heterosexual relationship that is accepted as the norm. For these artists, love is the new norm.