The British actor said he thought it was “rather unseemly” that Northern Ireland had yet to follow the rest of the UK and Ireland

During an interview on BBC Breakfast today, Sir Ian McKellen, who is best known for playing the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit wizard Gandalf, was asked about the referendum result in Ireland.

The 76-year-old said: “Whenever the vote came through, that wasn’t the big turning point.

“The turning point had been already happening and this was confirmation that Ireland had changed.

“That leads onto the future very well indeed.

“I hope, as a result, Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom, will catch up with the rest of us now and bring in same-gender marriage because it’s rather unseemly that that little bit of, corner of our country, doesn’t have quite as liberal laws as the rest.”

Amnesty International welcomed his support and said it was a reminder of how out of step Northern Ireland now is with the rest of the UK and Ireland on civil marriage.

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland programme director, said: “Sir Ian McKellen has been a champion of equal rights for the LGBTI community for many years. His support for equal marriage in Northern Ireland is a reminder of how much we are now out of step with the rest of the UK and Ireland on civil marriage for same-sex couples.

“We hope our legislators are listening, not just to Sir Ian McKellen, but the twenty thousand people who marched in Belfast in Saturday and the majority of -people throughout Northern Ireland who want our law brought into line with the rest of the UK and Ireland.

“Amnesty International believes that states should ensure that all families are equally protected before the law.”