George Clooney has said he will never deny rumours that he might be gay because it would be ‘unfair and unkind’ to the gay community to give someone the opportunity to make it ‘seem like being gay is a bad thing’.

Talking to the Advocate, the actor, now 50, says he believes equality “will soon be the law of the land”.

On marriage, Clooney is clear that he believes it is a civil rights issue to give gays the same rights as straight couples.

He said: “When you say someone chose to be gay […] you can say that it not a civil rights issue. But I believe that portion of the argument is so rapidly changing, especially with young people. Once that’s absorbed, when people realize that you don’t just wake up and decide to be gay, I believe that the next step will follow very naturally.

“We’ve had a very successful past few years. People get frustrated with the Obama administration, but “don’t ask, don’t tell” is gone, and a lot of states are changing their policies on marriage equality. I’m very optimistic that equality will soon be the law of the land.”

Clooney has long been a vocal supporter of equal marriage and said Republican presidential campaign hopeful Mitt Romney was “on the wrong side of history” for his stance on the issue.

Adding that Brad Pitt jokes he would not marry until Clooney could marry his own partner, he says: “I think it’s funny, but the last thing you’ll ever see me do is jump up and down, saying, ‘These are lies!’ That would be unfair and unkind to my good friends in the gay community.

“I’m not going to let anyone make it seem like being gay is a bad thing. My private life is private, and I’m very happy in it. Who does it hurt if someone thinks I’m gay? I’ll be long dead and there will still be people who say I was gay. I don’t give a shit.”

Pitt said earlier this year that the pledge he and Angelina Jolie took to hold off on marriage until equality was achieved for everyone in the US was proving hard to keep.

On topping People magazine’s list of the Sexiest Men Alive, he adds: “I’m still shocked that Ryan Gosling didn’t get Sexiest Man Alive last year. I thought he worked hard and ran a very solid campaign, so I feel that he was ripped off.”

Clooney is set to appear in a production of Dustin Lance Black’s play about California’s Proposition 8 public ballot on gay marriage this weekend.