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Here's Why The Whole Of Australia Is Currently Fighting Over Macklemore

Yes, the rapper. It's a long story.

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This Sunday, Macklemore is scheduled to perform Same Love at a rugby league grand final in Australia. Usually, this would be no big deal — however the country is currently in the middle of a two-month, mail-in, non-binding "survey" to measure the population's thoughts on gay marriage.

Because of the current state of things Down Under regarding same-sex marriage, the national media and political class is in the midst of a clusterfuck of vast and cosmic proportions, all over whether or not Macklemore should be allowed to sing Same Love at the grand final.

So, in an effort to make things understandable and clear, here are all of the events that led to this skull-numbing debate coming to be in the first place, as well as all the dumb shit that has happened since.

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It was announced Macklemore would be playing on September 1. National Rugby League (NRL) chief commercial officer Andrew Abdo said it was a real coup for the game. Everything was normal and no-one was really that bothered, except for a few people who were like "uh...Macklemore."

Things stayed like this for a few weeks, until it all came to the boil in the final days of September. On September 27, the Coalition for Marriage (which is anti same-sex marriage) came out and backed a petition from former NRL player Tony Wall, who wanted to make sure Macklemore wouldn't play Same Love at the grand final.

change.org

This led to headlines everywhere about the "former NRL player's" petition. Wall played 10 times in the NRL, so he's an NRL player in the same way that I'm a vegetarian if you count the long weekend where I tried it out before caving on the Monday evening and having a steak. But, whatever. His petition suddenly had a lot more attention and received thousands of signatures.

The petition only got further attention when former prime minister of Australia and key face of the "no" campaign, Tony Abbott, tweeted out a link complete with a Trumpian "Footy fans shouldn't be subjected to a politicised grand final. Sport is sport!"

Footy fans shouldn't be subjected to a politicised grand final. Sport is sport! https://t.co/1uRh4eZ61Z

And then Australia's attorney-general, George Brandis, got involved: "For Mr Abbott and anyone else to say that it should be banned I think is a bizarre thing to say. I thought Mr Abbott believed in freedom of speech."

All of this resulted in some truly wild times. On the 28th, Macklemore appeared on US radio and addressed the controversy surrounding his appearance in Oz, saying he was being harrassed on Twitter by a bunch of "angry old white dudes".

.@macklemore talks about his upcoming performance at Australia’s @NRL and the controversy about him performing “Sam… https://t.co/DgIAtJWEe1

"I'm actually going to Australia to perform at, kind of, the Superbowl of their rugby league," he said on The Cruz Show.

"It's interesting actually because I am playing Same Love, and they are going through, right now, trying to legalise same-sex marriage, in Australia.

"I'm getting a lot of tweets from angry old white dudes in Australia. I think there is a petition today to ban me from playing. So...it's interesting times in Australia.

"Imma go harder."

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And then conservative politician Pauline Hanson began suggesting a halt on any Same Love performance, not because it's a "gay anthem" but because Macklemore isn't Australian.

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“Put Johnny Farnham up there,” she said on Channel 7's Sunrise.

“Don’t bring some whoever up from overseas, I don’t have a clue who they are. Put an Aussie up there.”

Because every high-profile politician in Australia had to have a say on Macklemore's performance, Australia's immigration minister, Peter Dutton, spoke at a presser IN LONDON where he sided with the anti-Same Love crowd. "Making political statements at sporting events is unacceptable," he said.

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"I want to take my boys to watch the footy and I don't want the betting ads jammed down their throat, I don't want the gay marriage message jammed down their throat at the football," he said. It was all rather graphic.

Then he suggested that — if you're a fan of free speech — there should actually be two songs played: one for same-sex marriage and one against it. So that left people with a lot of questions:

What song would you play in support of a No vote?

Peter Dutton wants a ‘no’ song sung at the #NRLGrandFinal for “balance”. I’m not even mad anymore - just deeply embarrassed for Australia.

I’ve found the track Dutton wants played at the grand final and it’s a banger (I am so, so sorry)

If there were true freedom of speech, every Australian would sing a song during this year's NRL grand final. Mine's… https://t.co/mIkgAYoSuk

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People were also pointing out that Macklemore had performed Same Love in other countries, including Abu Dhabi, where homosexuality is illegal.

@RealMarkLatham Macklemore has performed his music - including the beautiful "Same Love" - in Abu Dhabi, where homo… https://t.co/g76vMN1LqL

And then another Australian politician, North Queensland MP Bob Katter, told ABC's 7:30 that the whole sequence of events was "a tantamount to seeping sewage into the debutante ball."

ABC News / Via abc.net.au

"If they [the NRL] take the most sacred day of the year, outside of Christmas, and use it to promote their sexual proclivities, that is an insult and an offence to every single follower of rugby league in this country," he said.

On the evening of September 28, Sky News presenter Paul Murray also uncovered Macklemore's controversial (and much spoken about) old tweets. Particularly the one where ol' Mack says "9/11... Bush took down the towers." Yep, now the story involved 9/11 truthers!

I don't care about the SSM song. But why did NRL book a bloke who is a 9/11 Truther (and worse) to play the GF??? https://t.co/qr2jfeuR1o

And then the PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA appeared on news and current affairs show The Project and... talked about rap.

PM @TurnbullMalcolm shares his thoughts and spits rhymes about the debate surrounding Macklemore's #NRLGF performan… https://t.co/XUpvagvlqM

"I'm still grieving for Tupac," he said when asked about his taste in music. "It's been a long time."

"[Macklemore] should perform whatever he wants to perform," said the prime minister. "For heaven's sake...it's the half-time entertainment at a grand final. They've got a great artist, he'll sing his top hits, [Same Love is] one of them. That's great."

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And we had a bunch of great headlines such as this:

Then a former Labor Party leader turned YouTuber, Mark Latham, brought up the whole 9/11 thing again, saying Macklemore was "dishonoring Australians who died in the towers". Also, instead of a screenshot of the tweet, he took a photo of his computer screen.

Facebook: MarkLathamsOutsiders

All of this was obviously very exhausting, and it carried on into another day when Australians woke up on September 29 to discover Same Love was now the number 1 song on iTunes.

Yesterday someone started a petition in Australia to ban me from playing Same Love at the #NRLGF. Today its #1 on iTunes. Love is winning ❤️

Macklemore was meant to have a press conference with the NRL upon landing in Australia, but his departure from the US was delayed.

Please note Macklemore's departure from the United States has been delayed. The media opportunity today will not proceed as planned

No one knows why Macklemore was delayed, but people have thoughts about that too:

He was required to fill out a set list on his incoming passenger card https://t.co/bzgKohGNVA

Peter Dutton is absolutely going to detain Macklemore isn't he https://t.co/oKloOtGbGp

We are 100% going to cancel the visa of a guy for singing a song about how he thought he was gay as a kid bc he lik… https://t.co/2zackHQGMO

has dutton cancelled his visa https://t.co/XaaMDrTQvC

Delayed because of Old White dudes https://t.co/CZajRjXiKR

And so, we as a nation wait. Will Macklemore sing Same Love at the grand final? Or will he be stopped by a horde of right wing politicians angry with its inclusive message? The good news is, we won't have to wait much longer. The NRL grand final is on Sunday and, at the very least, Macklemore will do Thrift Shop.

Brad Esposito is a news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Brad Esposito at bradley.esposito@buzzfeed.com.

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