“Huge day for America.. Happy to see the news. All the love.”
Harry Styles, One Direction, Twitter (June 26, 2015)
Like anything else, sometimes music and real life issues intersect one another. Depending on your point of view, that might not be an everyday occurrence so when it happens something important or unusual must have happened. On June 26, 2015, “SCOTUS” (internet slang for our Nation’s highest court) rendered a decision on marriage equality which pretty much gives our country a new civil right. Now, that decision stands alongside other landmark decisions like Brown v. Board of Education as well as others. However, history has shown that even the most important decisions can still present challenges when people attempt to exercise their new found rights but that’s a discussion for another day.
So, now that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, how did the music community react?
Adam Lambert, who became a household name in 2009 c/o American Idol, made headlines when he came out in a Rolling Stone cover story and was the show’s first openly gay contestant. After SCOTUS’ ruling, Lambert said:
“This day is a great celebration in the worldwide movement towards full civil rights for everyone, but we must remember that no one is fully free while others remain oppressed.”
Similarly, Neon Trees’ frontman Tyler Glenn also came out in a Rolling Stone interview when he talked about being raised Mormon and watching his childhood church fight against marriage equality during the Prop 8 battle in California. In reaction to SCOTUS’s Glenn, a true personality himself, said:
“My boyfriend texted me the a [sic] screenshot of the news this morning. I was still waking up and part of me immediately thought, “Um, is this a marriage proposal? It’s only been 5 months.” Then I let the news sink in, and I thought of me in 2008 (6 years before I’d come out) sitting in a theater watching a matinee of Milk. I thought of how integral Harvey Milk was in effecting my own story, and the true crusade towards equality. I thought how now many couples don’t have to be as scared or afraid anymore. I began to cry, for the couples that can legally and lawfully say they’re married, without fear. This is truly a momentous day, a celebratory day. Not just for me or for us, but for humanity.”
The always controversial Miley Cyrus also weighed in on the decision. Cyrus, who identifies herself as a bisexual, has become a trailblazer of her own with her Happy Hippie Foundation which “celebrate[s] love, support, and resilience with portraits of transgender and gender expansive individuals from all walks of life.” Miley also gave a statement albeit it was not as lengthy or eloquent as Messrs. Lambert and Glenn but, I guess she also got her point across. Cyrus said:
However, will all the reaction from the music community be so supportive? For example, look at Big Town’s ballad, Girl Crush. Despite sitting atop the charts as one of the hottest country songs back in March The Washington Post reported some country stations were pulling the tune from their rotation after receiving complaints from listeners who thought the song was about a lesbian relationship. Ironically, however, according to Alana Lynn, co-host of a country morning show at WOW 104.3 in Boise, Idaho, that was not the song’s intent at all.
“First of all, Girl Crush is not about anything other than … wishing that you were the other girl who your significant other is now in love with. That was the biggest misconception about Girl Crush,” she said. (Indeed, some of the lyrics support that. For example, “I want her long blonde hair, I want her magic touch / ‘Cause maybe then you’d want me just as much.”).
Time will tell how the music community in its entirety reacts but so far the initial thoughts are supportive and very positive. Stay tuned for further reaction to SCOTUS’ decision.