The Los Angeles Times
February 5, 2013

Ian McKellen received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland on Sunday. So you can call the famed stage and film actor Dr. McKellen now, though his "Sir" prefix is awfully nice as well. "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" actor was given the Doctor of Letters degree by the university's chancellor, Dr. James Nesbitt, who appeared in the film as Bofur alongside McKellan's wizard, Gandalf. "Thanks to every gay person in public and non-public life who has come out," McKellen, who is openly gay, said in his speech, which addressed religious and homophobic prejudice. "Thanks to those politicians not in thrall to those constituents who cling to the status quo and who, given referenda, would happily reinstate capital punishment and the beating of children." Britain's House of Commons is preparing to vote on same-sex legislation Tuesday, and McKellen, 73, used his moment at the lectern for an oration on politics.