George Takei, who was fortunate enough to be married during the short time that gay marriage was legal in California, reacted to the news that 9th U.S. Circuit Court has overturned Proposition 8, the controversial law which deemed only marriage between a man and a woman to be valid in California.
The legal process isn’t quite over, as an appeal is likely and will probably end up at the U.S. Supreme Court, but foes of Prop 8 are heartened by this week’s action by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court.
“We’re obviously and relieved,” said Takei. “My sense always told me that the ruling would be this way. Two years ago the California Supreme Court ruled that marriage equality was a fundamental right. Now at the district court level, Judge Walker has ruled in our favor. I didn’t think he would overturn the state Supreme Court. Like I said, we are definitely overjoyed.”
Takei shared a conversation he had had with Gene Roddenberry, back when Star Trek was still on the air, about Roddenberry’s views on gay rights. “I had a very private conversation with Gene on that issue,” he said. “I was still not out, so we spoke theoretically. … You know, we’d dealt with the Vietnam War. We’d dealt with the civil rights movement. We’d dealt with a lot of issues of our times. And I asked him, ‘How do you feel about that [gay rights]?’ He said, ‘This is an important issue and we want to deal with it.’ However, this was while we were on TV. He said, ‘Our ratings are low and I need to keep the show on the air. All I need is another firestorm and this show will be canceled, and I won’t be able to make those statements that I’ve been making with the show.’ He said, ‘The times will change as we move along, but at this point, I can’t do that.’ So again, it was the politic compromise, like what poor Bill Clinton had to make.”
Speaking of Star Trek, Takei admitted that his prediction about Star Trek fading away had been wrong. “Paramount is talking about having a sequel to that recent film [Star Trek XI].” “I have to refer to it as the recent film, because there is no number or subtitle to it. It’s just simply Star Trek. J.J. (Abrams) really re-energized the Star Trek franchise with it — and with the next film, I think the fan following will continue to be active. In previous years I had predicted Star Trek eventually fading away and that proved not to be true. I’ve given up making that prediction and I’m just going to go with the flow.”
Takei still attends fan conventions and he explained why that is the case. “I’m always identified as the actor who played Hikaru Sulu even if I’m doing something totally different, or when I’m on the media talking about marriage equality,” he said. “That’s my calling card, it seems. So I’m resigned to the fact that my tombstone probably is going to read ‘Here lies Hikaru Sulu’ in great big bold letters, and in smaller letters, ‘AKA George Takei.’