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New Zealand "poster boy for gay rights" cleared to appear on "Ellen" show

WELLINGTON, N.Z. — New Zealand’s Prime Minister has granted permission to Parliament member Maurice Williamson to appear on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” after Williamson became the unexpected face of gay rights for his “big gay rainbow” speech last week in favor of marriage equality.

Williamson was invited onto the Ellen show after his speech in Parliament on the same-sex marriage bill became a social media sensation, but he believed having the trip paid for by producers was against ministerial rules, reported The New Zealand Herald.

In his speech during the final reading of the marriage bill, Williamson made humorous references to “a big gay rainbow” over his electorate and said the Marriage Amendment Bill was a positive step, catapulting him to New Zealand’s “poster boy for gay rights.” His speech garnered more than 1.5 million views on YouTube.

Watch it HERE.

At issue in appearing on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” was that the the show pays guests’ airfares and possibly an additional amount for appearing, a conflict with ministerial rules.

Prime Minister John Key approved the appearance under the condition that any appearance payment would be donated to charity.

New Zealand approved the marriage bill, and will become the 13th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.

A date for Williamson’s appearance has not yet been announced by the show.

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