Trending News|January 28, 2014 09:00 EST
Mass Wedding at 56th Annual Grammy Awards 2014 Sparks Controversy; Segment Described as 'Political Stunt,' Christian Singer Natalie Grant Leaves Event Early (VIDEO)
Controversy hit last night's 56th Annual Grammy Awards as 33 homosexual and heterosexual couples took part in a mass wedding live on CBS. The event has been critcized as a political stunt by Grammy Awards organizers, although they have denied any political motivations in the wedding segment. However, the mass wedding was put on to coincide with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' pro-gay marriage song "Same Love," leading many to criticize organizers for their allegedly clear political statement at the music event.
Sunday night's Grammy Awards were packed with surprises, from duets with Pharrell Williams, French Robots, Daft Punk, and Stevie Wonder, to a Beatles reunion on stage. However, what perhaps surprised viewers the most was what took place during Best New Artist winners, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' performance.
During the duo's song, "Same Love," which fights for same sex marriage, dozens of Gay, Lesbian, and heterosexual couples exchanged rings and were married while millions watched on screen.
"Music has the power to bring people together at the Grammy's," Queen Latifah, who presided the marriage, said as she introduced Macklemore. "This song is a love song not for some of us but all of us!"
She then echoed the song's lyrics: "Whatever god you believe in, we come from the same one. Strip away the fear, underneath, it's all the same love."
Macklemore came out rapping in front of an altar, shouting: "No freedom till we're equal."
Queen Latifah officiated the nuptials midway into the song, before introducing the couples.
"It is my distinct honor to ask the participants to exchange rings," then she excitingly exclaimed before millions of viewers watching around the globe. "By the power vested in me by the state of California, I now pronounce you a married couple."
Madonna then came out singing, "Open Your Heart to Me" as the couples began hugging.
The mass wedding segment then became even more controversial as it ended by referencing the Bible to annoint the proceedings; a choir began singing the Bible's sacred love chapter of Corinthians 13, "Love is Patient, Love is Kind," and Madonna and Mary Lambert singing, "I'm Not Crying on Sunday."
Gay marriage has been a hugely divisive topic in the United States over recent years, with conservatives fighting against any redefinition of marriage as the union between one man and one woman - a definition Christians believe comes from God as recorded in scripture. Although a large marjority of states in America still maintain the traditional definition of marriage, 17 states and the district of Columbia now allow gay marriages. However, Christians and other religious groups have vowed to stand strong and fight to maintain the sanctity of marriage.
Christian gospel singer Natalie Grant, who was nominated twice for her hit song, "Hurricane," left the show early - with some claiming her Christian convictions were behind the early exit following the political stunt of the mass wedding.
"We left the Grammy's early. I've many thoughts about the show tonight, most of which are probably better left inside my head. But I'll say this: I've never been more honored to sing about Jesus and for Jesus. And I've never been more sure of the path I've chosen," Grant posted on her Facebook.