Gay marriage would win respect, says McKellan

Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, meets fans at Hoyts George Street cinema complex in Sydney.

GAY rights activist and eminent actor Sir Ian McKellan says Australia would earn worldwide respect if it legislated for same-sex marriage.

Speaking to a Melbourne rally, Sir Ian admitted he knew little about Australian politics, but the principle of gay rights was universal.

The British actor and his fellow castmates of the stage play Waiting for Godot today spoke to a crowd of about 1000 at the Equal Love rally.

“It’s appropriate that four foreigners have come along to get involved in Australian politics,” the Lord of the Rings star said.

“We don’t know anything about the complications of federal government as opposed to state laws, but what’s obvious to me is a matter of principle here and it’s a principle that foreigners can have a say in.

“It’s a principle based on gay people are all born equal with the rest of the population and the law must not discriminate.

“A non-discrimination law establishing the right for gay people to be married would cost the Australian Government nothing financially and would gain for you world-wide respect.”

Sir Ian helped pass a petition with 100,000 signatures to Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young whose Marriage Equality Amendment Bill was voted down in Federal Parliament earlier this year.

Senator Hanson-Young told the crowd she would reintroduce the Bill after the upcoming election and vowed to make same sex marriage a significant issue in the upcoming poll.

“Both old sides of Parliament, Labor and Liberal, voted it down. They don’t want to talk about it, it’s an icky issue for them,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

“But it’s not an icky issue for the rest of us.”

One activist found a lone anti-gay marriage campaigner an unwelcome intruder on the rally, ripping a placard from the elderly Kevin Seaman’s hands.

He then ran through the crowd and ripped up the sign which read “Jesus loves homosexuals but disapproves of their lifestyle” before throwing it in the bin.

“He does love homosexuals, but not their lifestyles,” Mr Seaman said.

“The institution of marriage means a relationship between a man and a woman.

“Once God has defined something, he does not change.”

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