The video of a New Zealand MP’s impassioned speech following a vote to legalise equal marriage in the country, has gone viral, as he poked fun at those opposed to the measure, and emphasised its importance.

MP Maurice Williamson, made the speech in parliament following its third and final reading for the bill to allow equal marriage, which passed by 77 votes to 44. It was hailed by Gawker as “a speech for the ages”, and has gone viral on social media and other sites.

In the speech he says: “I’ve had a reverend in my local electorate say, ‘The gay onslaught will start the day this law is passed.’

“Well, we are struggling to know what the gay onslaught will look like. We don’t know whether it will come down the Pakuranga Highway as a series of troops or whether it will be a gas that flows in over the electorate that blocks us all in.”

He goes on to say: “I also had a Catholic priest tell me I was supporting an unnatural act. I found that quite interesting coming from someone who has taken an oath of celibacy for his whole life.

“I haven’t done it so I don’t know what it’s about.”

Mr Williamson, the father of three adopted children jokes: “I also had a leader telling me I would burn in the fires of hell for eternity, and that was a bad mistake, because I’ve got a degree in physics… I will last 2.1 seconds – it’s hardly eternity”.

He goes on to emphasise the importance of the bill, and the equality inherent in offering marriage rights to same-sex couples.

“All we are doing with this bill is allowing two people who love each other to have that love recognised by way of marriage,

“We are not declaring nuclear war on a foreign state; we are not bringing a virus in that could wipe out our agriculture sector forever,” he continues.

The Pakuranga MP also tweeted a picture of a rainbow he took outside of his window.

Both the the Conservative Party and lobby group Family First, have been running campaigns against the bill, and over 75,000 people have signed petitions against the legislation.

New Zealand became the first country in the Asia-Pacific to legalise equal marriage, as well as the third of the 54 Commonwealth member states, and the second of Queen Elizabeth II’s realms, as its parliament voted on Wednesday for the bill 77 to 44.

As the Parliament of New Zealand passed a bill to allow equal marriage in the country, those in attendance of the reading broke into song, once it was announced that it had passed. 

According to a survey by an equal marriage advocacy group, over a thousand Australian gay and lesbian couples are to travel to New Zealand in order to get married, which could boost the New Zealand economy by around £472 million, they estimated.