US rap star Macklemore has showed his support for a Nebraska student who was expelled from her university after she proposed to her girlfriend at one of his concerts.
Danielle Powell, who was approaching the end of her bachelor’s degree at Grace University, has been told she cannot transfer to another school until she agrees to pay a debt of $6,300 (£4,023), after administrators at the school found out she was gay, when she proposed to her girlfriend.
The Christian university suspended the student back in March 2011 for “immoral behaviour”, under which “homosexual acts” were implicated alongside “premarital sex” and “adultery”. This move revoked Powell’s academic scholarship leaving her in debt of just over $6,000 (£3,831).
Powell, who has since been offered a full scholarship to Roosevelt University in Chicago, proposed to her girlfriend Michelle Rogers, last year, live on stage at a Macklemore and Ryan Lewis concert.
Michelle Powell proposed to Michelle Rogers in 2012 at a Macklemore concert (Image: Change.org)
Tweeting his disbelief at the story, and a link to a petition in support of Powell, the rapper said: “I cannot believe this is happening in 2013.”
The Change.org petition in support of Powell, which calls on Grace to allow the student her transcripts, without having to first clear the debt, has gathered over 103,000 signatures.
A counter-petition also on Change.org, calling on the university to “Stand Firm In The Lord, Hold Danielle Powell Accountable For Her Decisions”, had gathered 43 signatures as of Monday.
Macklemore previously spoke out in an interview about his reasons for writing a song with a strong pro-equal marriage message, saying he wanted to “challenge society” and issues that others “are afraid to address”.
The song Same Love, from his latest album collaboration with Ryan Lewis, addressed the straight rapper’s personal experiences and feelings around the issue of same-sex relationships and equal marriage, and features a video spanning the lives of a gay couple, including a happy marriage.