Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros took a stand against North Carolina's controversial HB2 at the band's concert Friday in Raleigh when they invited a married gay couple onstage to renew their vows in front of a sold-out North Carolina Museum of Art show.
During the band's performance of "Home," frontman Alex Ebert welcomed the couple – PETA Senior VP Dan Mathews and his husband, production designer Jack Ryan – onstage for the ceremony. The couple renewed their vows in front of 2,500 fans as Ebert told them to "express your love freely, whenever and wherever."
While artists like Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Ringo Starr, Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato, Maroon 5 and more have canceled gigs in North Carolina to protest the state's "bathroom bill," which impedes on the rights of the LGBT community, other acts like Animal Collective, Against Me!'s Laura Jane Grace and now Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros have used Tar Heel State performances to help combat the bill.
"HB2 was passed by an immoral minority – North Carolina has many thriving, creative, modern communities," Ebert said in a statement. "We were tempted to cancel the show, but decided at the last minute to rally the crowd instead by renewing the vows of our good friends onstage."
On Friday, the University of North Carolina announced that they would not enforce HB2 on campus. "I have no intent to exercise my authority to promulgate any guidelines or regulations that require transgender students to use the restrooms consistent with their biological sex," University system President Margaret Spellings wrote in an affidavit.