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George Takei on his gay marriage: 'A world of difference' in being equal

by Nick Cargo

"It was exquisite," actor George Takei told CBS' Maggie Rodriguez. "It was magical. It's something we're going to remember for the rest of our lives."

Takei, 71, and longtime partner Brad Altman, 54, were married on Sunday in a multicultural ceremony at the Japanese American National Museum. Native American and Japanese music, in addition a bagpipe procession, colored the wedding, presided over by a Buddhist priest and including a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Guests included "Star Trek" co-stars Nichelle Nichols and Walter Koenig.

"I vow to care for you as you've cared for me," Takei said as part of his vows to Altman, "and to love you as my husband and the only man in my life."

There's a "world of difference" in being equal, Takei said this morning. "We're a long-term, well-established couple," Altman explained, "and now, in California, we have marriage equality. Marriage is a fundamental right for all Californians and...George is my husband. It makes a world of difference."

A constitutional gay marriage ban on November's ballot, Proposition 8, Takei said, is "against the basic fundamental ideals of democracy.

You know, we're a pluralistic society, and there are many, many faiths and beliefs here. Now, we respect everybody's faiths--their right to their beliefs, but there's no right for any one faith group to write their own particular beliefs into civil law that applies to everyone. That's not democracy...and we are going to make sure that democracy prevails here."

"I think, basically, the majority of Californians are fair, decent-minded people," he added, "and they will recognize the beauty of our marriage, the truth of our marriage; and they will not take it away from us."

Recalling his internment experience during World War II, Takei chose the venue for his marriage to make a point. "As gay Americans, we have been stereotyped and characterized as something frightening and threatening," he said, "as Japanese-Americans were before the war."

The interview, along with footage of the Takei-Altman wedding, is available to view below, as broadcast on CBS' Early Show on September 15 and 16, 2008.


Originally published on Tuesday September 16, 2008.

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