Legendary Irish chat show host Graham Norton has slammed RTE's decision to pay compensation to members of the media accused of being homophobic as 'moronic'.
Norton has previously spoken about the difficulties he experienced growing up gay in Co Cork and spoke of his support for gay rights in the latest issue of Hot Press.
The country's most famous drag queen Panti Bliss, aka Rory O'Neill, has become embroiled in a debate over the meaning of homophobia in recent weeks, since an appearance on the Saturday Night Show.
And the iconic tv presenter echoed his support for gay rights, particularly Mr O'Neill's speech at the Abbey Theatre last month which detailed homophobic experiences he has endured.
“It’s a very sane speech, which exists outside of the current argument,” Norton told the Irish music magazine.
“You don’t need to know about all the RTÉ toings and froings to understand it. Rory’s a smart chap and it was perfectly pitched.”
Mr Norton added that he believes some Irish people use 'semantics' to distract from the argument for homosexual marriage, but relayed that the majority of the population is for equal rights.
“If you think gay marriage is the end of the world, that’s your opinion,” he says. “Tell everyone you can, have your websites, have your forums, have your members and people donating money.
“But don’t be surprised when somebody like Miss Panti kicks back and says, ‘You’re not pro-marriage. If you were, you’d want as many people as possible to do it. You’re not pro-anything. You’re using semantics’.”
He spends nearly every summer in Bandon, Co Cork and he said it's an entirely different place he grew up experiencing.
“When I go back now – and I pretty much spend my entire summer near to where I grew up in Bandon – it’s such a different place. It takes pride in accepting all types of people. There’s more than 40 shades of green.”
Gay rights have been on the agenda of late, what with that marvellous, thought-provoking Abbey Theatre speech from Panti Bliss – aka Rory O'Neill – which has become a viral sensation and has earned praise from Madonna, Graham Norton and Stephen Fry, and the fact that Russia, with its draconian anti-gay laws, is currently hosting the Winter Olympics.