Furthering her passion for marriage equality, Jennifer Hudson gave a gay Texas couple a celebratory serenade following their nuptials in Dallas Wednesday night.
After exchanging vows at the Altitude Club atop the W Hotel in Dallas, Chris and Scott Lindsey were treated to a congratulatory video message from Hudson. After the message played, the Academy Award-winning singer, who partnered with W and the Human Rights Campaign for their "Turn It Up For Change" collaboration, stepped out from behind a curtain flanked by backup dancers to perform her equality anthem, "I Still Love You."
The couple had been married since 2006, when they had a ceremony in Canada. Unfortunately, in Texas, one of the most obstinate states when it came to the marriage equality debate, never recognized their union.
"What better thing to do than choose the state where we have a W Hotel that has been the most resistant to gay marriage and to have a celebration there when they will be forced to honor that marriage," said Anthony Ingham, global brand leader of W Hotels Worldwide. "It's really a celebration from our point of view and the end of a specific leg in the fight for marriage equality."
Ingham helped coordinate with HRC to bring "Turn It Up For Change" to life. After he saw Chad Griffin's speech at the HRC gala in Washington in 2013 reminding everyone that the fight for marriage equality was far from over, he took W's brand, which has a longtime pristine rating on HRC's equality index, and brainstormed ways to make sure everyone knew that marriage equality was an ongoing struggle.
Hudson's team reached out around the same time to offer the celebrity's voice to the campaign, literally. Thus the music-focused "Turn It Up For Change" project was conceived and has been sponsoring major events around the country ever since.
Though the ruling on marriage equality came down just two weeks ago, planning for the Lindsey wedding began as early as April. "We didn't know everything was going to be positive," said Ingham, "we had to book space, had to look for a couple, and then we wanted to make sure Texas would honor the law immediately - there was a question with whether or not the states would follow through with the ruling."
Now that marriage equality is a nationwide decree, Ingham says "Turn It Up For Change" will take its lead from HRC when it comes to their next focus. "Just because gay couples can get married doesn't end discrimination," he said, "there's still a long period of time where there will be issues and legal obstacles to overcome when it comes to gay couples having the same legal rights as straight couples."
The fight may not be over, but no one will fault the community for celebrating the partial triumphs on the way to full equality.
Watch a behind-the-scenes peak at Hudson's surprise performance below.