A New Zealand MP whose powerful speech following the country’s vote to legalise equal marriage went viral, will not appear on the Ellen show, despite being invited by host Ellen DeGeneres.
The MP for Pakuranga since 1987, 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 quickly went viral on social media and other sites.
During the “big gay rainbow” speech, he said: ”I 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.”
The speech has been viewed on YouTube over a million times, and attracted the attention of Ellen, who invited him onto her show.
He tweeted on Wednesday to say that he had been negotiating with the show’s producers, but that they were not able to come to an agreement.
Adding a sad face emoticon, he said: “Taping of the current show ends in just over a week and we’ve been unable to arrange a suitable slot.”
Prime Minister John Key had given his endorsement for Williamson to appear on the show, given that he donated any fee paid by Ellen’s show to charity, as well as declaring any flights and accommodation the show pays for on parliament’s register of pecuniary interests.
New Zealand last month 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.
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.