The Diary
Rachel Glucina looks at the top events and newsmakers of the day.

The Diary: Kiwi marriage change sets blogosphere alight

TV host Ellen DeGeneres, who is married to actor Portia de Rossi, gushed on Twitter about the marriage equality bill. Photo / Getty Images
TV host Ellen DeGeneres, who is married to actor Portia de Rossi, gushed on Twitter about the marriage equality bill. Photo / Getty Images

Celebrities around the world reacted to Parliament's passing of the same-sex marriage law, but it was a warbling Maori love song and a jovial and poignant speech by the MP for Pakuranga that had news organisations and the blogosphere electrified.

TV host Ellen DeGeneres, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton and Irish author Marian Keyes took to Twitter to congratulate New Zealand on becoming the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to legalise gay marriage.

DeGeneres, married to actor Portia de Rossi, said: "It's a big day for Kiwis! New Zealand's marriage equality bill passed! Also, Portia just made me a tropical fruit salad."

Hollywood actor Sophia Bush and former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton acknowledged New Zealand's forward-moving progress, while Scrubs star Zach Braff said America now follows New Zealand "in time in more ways than one".

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova, who lives in the US, had gushing praise for our lawmakers, but asked: "When will we join?" So, too Aussie supermodel Megan Gale: "When will Australia catch up?"

Aussie comic Wil Anderson relied on a notorious sporting incident to highlight the disparity between New Zealand and its neighbour.

"Now we officially have something to be more embarrassed about than the underarm," he tweeted.

Expats Rachel Hunter, Annabel Fay, Cal Wilson, Danielle Cormack and BBC presenter Lucy Hockings, who hails from Taranaki, all proudly boasted their allegiances to their homeland.

London-based, Kiwi-born showbiz commentator Dan Wootton - on Thatcher funeral watch - gave the historic moment a topical twist. "Amazing news from my homeland ... Something Maggie would have hated."

Melanie Lynskey, from Two and a Half Men fame, turned sentimental: "Dear Aotearoa, I love you ... I'm especially proud to be a New Zealander tonight."

Seems our parliamentarians cracked more than a dry eye among members of the international Fourth Estate, too.

British broadcaster Caitlin Moran said she couldn't stop "weeping" when MPs burst into song with Pokarekare Ana after the historic vote, while The Huffington Post declared Maurice Williamson's speech "incredible".

Satirical website Gawker left the spoof at the door and hailed the Nat MP's inspiring speech a "must watch" and "one of the greatest speeches ever delivered at a marriage equality debate".

British pop star Ronan Keating echoed the sentiment: "Everybody should take a listen to Maurice Williamson's marriage equality speech. Simply brilliant."

More than 11,000 people viewed Williamson's "rainbow across my electorate" speech on YouTube. He was the breakthrough star of the night and greeted with an outpouring of social media love. One Twitter darling concluded Williamson (to paraphrase a certain punk rock band) "is pretty fly for a white guy".

But the conservative 62-year -old told The Diary he's humbly surprised by the reaction he has received.

"I'm just an MP from Pakuranga who expressed a balanced view and talked from the heart. I'm amazed by the feedback I've got. I've had to clear my phone from all the messages, and Twitter and Facebook have erupted. My staff have told me about blogs that have been written by the likes of Perez Hilton and others."

Urban's Sydney trek

Karl Urban is heading Downunder next week for the gala premiere of blockbuster Star Trek Into Darkness. Alas, not to these shores. Director J.J. Abrams and his stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Urban will hit the red-carpet in Sydney on Tuesday - the first gala premiere of what will be a whirlwind blitz of international publicity.

Muppet encore

Conchord creative Bret McKenzie has been busy with the second instalment of the Muppets franchise, aptly titled The Muppets ... Again!. The film, which stars Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais and Ray Liotta, will hit cinemas next year. Producer David Hoberman said McKenzie's musical contribution this time is more varied.

"Bret wrote all these songs for this new movie and they are so different and cover such a wide range of genres. I think we've got a couple of spectacular musical numbers in this one, and I think it runs the gamut of ballad and comedy songs," he told Crave Online.

Williams back on track

Celebrated caddie Steve Williams remains on a high following Adam Scott's historic win at the US Masters this week. However, he'll thud back to earth when he takes to the track for his other passion - speedway.

Meanwhile, Michael Campbell has been named a brand ambassador for golf apparel label Crest Link for an undisclosed fee. The Kiwi golfer and 2005 US Open champion is currently competing on the European circuit.

- NZ Herald

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