Acclaimed British actor Sir Ian McKellen took a few moments out before the Equal Love rally in Melbourne on Saturday to tell Southern Star he joined the fight for gay marriage on “principle”.
“The major principle of equality for all people has international repercussions, and of course I support [same-sex marriage],” he said.
So would McKellen walk down the aisle himself?
“It’s difficult for someone of my age to adjust to the fact that marriage might one day be an option, but of course it should. Whether I take advantage of it, I don’t know.
“I’m not dying to get married … I don’t have someone who I would like to get married to.
“But who knows what my life would have been like if I’d been able to get married as a young man. It might have been quite different.”
McKellen said he believes the civil partnership scheme in his homeland does not equate to full equality.
“On the point of principle, no, they’re not, and two people should be able to get married regardless of their gender.
“The Blair Government didn’t think they could get that through so they settled for second-best which was a civil partnership.
“Ironically a civil partnership is not available to straight people so it’s a law which discriminates in favour of gay people. That’s the sort of nonsense that it is. I understand straight people are very upset about it.”
According to McKellen, the need for equality can’t be overstated when it comes to gay rights, marriage or otherwise.
“Gay people should be treated on par under the law with everybody else and once that’s established we can all shut up and go home.
“In South Africa you can get married or have a civil partnership, whether you’re straight or gay. That seems to me to be the sort of equality we should be aiming for.”