Grammy nominee and Rolling Stone cover star Sam Smith unveiled the video for his new single “Lay Me Down,” the latest track off his platinum-selling debut album In the Lonely Hour. The video, filmed at the parish church of St. Margaret, Lee outside London and directed by Ryan Hope, finds Smith performing his ballad in front of what appears to be a mournful funeral but turns out to be a joyous gay marriage, a controversial situation given the United Kingdom’s (and the Church’s) stand on same-sex marriages.
Rolling Stone was on set with Smith as the singer talked about the message behind the video. “Obviously gay marriage isn’t legal in churches, and we’re doing a gay marriage today, in the church. We’re the first ever to do it. It’s obviously not a real marriage, but still,” Smith tells Rolling Stone from the set. “The priest just said to us, ‘We’re going against the rules by doing this today,’ which I thought was a lovely element in the video.
“Going to the church today, it’s like, ‘This is the first time we’ve let people with big noses in.’ That’s the equivalent to me,” Smith adds. “I’m walking in, I’m going, ‘Why? Why are a man and a man not allowed to get married in this room?’ Because it’s the most natural thing.”
Smith echoed these sentiments in a Facebook post accompanying the video’s release. “This video shows my dreams that one day gay men and women and transgendered men and women all over the world, like all our straight families and friends, will be able to get married under any roof, in any city, in any town, in any village, in any country,” wrote the singer.
While same-sex couples now have the right to marry in 35 states plus the District of Columbia, Smith tells Rolling Stone the fight isn’t nearly won. “It seems ludicrous to me now, when I hear about people that have issues with it. But we’re very deluded, being from America or from the UK,” the singer says. “There’s more places in America where it’s not accepted, but just watching documentaries about homosexuals in Africa, or Jamaica, or all of those places that it’s really, really tough. Especially as a British person, I feel like we hate it when people say stuff like, ‘Everyone’s all right with gays now.’ But it’s not the case. It’s so not the case.”
Smith compared homophobia with another societal ill. “It’s the same with racism. We have so far to go with all of these things,” Smith said. “So people need to stop resting and thinking, ‘It’s all good. We don’t need to work anymore’ and start protesting again.”
Additional reporting by Patrick Doyle