Congrats to the 33 couples, gay and straight, who walked into the Grammy Awards Sunday night unmarried and walked out as newlyweds. Queen Latifah officiated your wedding; Madonna sang at it; Beyoncé was in the front row—no matter what, that’s an amazing way to kick off a life together.
But the mass marriage that took place to Macklemore’s “Same Love” and Madonna’s “Open Your Heart” towards the end of the night Sunday wasn’t really for the people getting hitched. They were props. It wasn’t really for gay rights either. Any public good that potentially came from the moment—maybe someone at home changing their attitudes about same-sex marriage—were side effects. The main reason for the nuptials, it seemed, was to give the musicians on stage and recording-academy members a chance to announce themselves as good people.
Which, of course, is always the point of everything that happens at Grammys. Like any major awards show, it’s an ad for its industry. This year, the message being sold was, as host LL Cool J dutifully put it at the beginning, that music’s awesomeness transcends all boundaries. Funnily enough, until the ultra-hyped “Same Love” stunt, the ceremony had been doing a pretty good, subtle (if too-slow) job of driving home that message.
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