22 Apr 2013

PM says yes to Williamson appearing on talk show

9:19 pm on 22 April 2013

National Party MP Maurice Williamson has been given approval by the Prime Minister to appear on US talk show Ellen after his speech in support of same-sex marriage.

Host Ellen DeGeneres invited Mr Williamson to appear on the show after his speech on the marriage amendment bill, where he joked about claims of a gay onslaught and an enormous gay rainbow over his electorate, went viral on the internet.

The Pakuranga MP's speech in Parliament last Wednesday has been viewed millions of times online and there are now versions with Chinese and Spanish subtitles.

Mr Williamson initially turned down the request, because he believed having the trip paid for by the show's producers was against ministerial rules.

On Monday, he said while he's enjoying the spotlight, he's not sure about it all and hasn't decided if he'll take up the invitation.

Mr Williamson said some of the coverage has gone a bit far, with a New York newspaper claiming he was one of New Zealand's only openly gay MPs - something his wife later queried him about.

However, Prime Minister John Key has approved it - as long as the MP's appearance fee is donated to charity.

The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill passed its third and final reading by 77 votes to 44, making New Zealand the first country in the Asia-Pacific region and 13th in the world to enshrine marriage equality in law.