May 20, 2008 / 12:08 AM / 10 years ago

"Star Trek" actor to wed after gay marriage ruling

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor George Takei, best known for playing Mr. Sulu on “Star Trek,” says he plans to wed his longtime partner now that the California Supreme Court has overturned a state ban on gay marriage.

Actor George Takei, one of the stars of the drama series "Heroes" poses at the Universal Media Studios Emmy party celebrating the studio's Emmy nominees in Malibu, California August 2, 2007. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Takei, 71, told Reuters on Monday that he and Brad Altman, his 54-year-old business manager, are going through the “delicious process” of planning their nuptials.

“There’s no tradition in terms of same-sex marriage. We are designing and shaping our own wedding in our own way, so it’s going to be singular and unique,” added Takei, who first made his wedding plans known on his website during the weekend.

Comedian Ellen DeGeneres has also announced plans to marry her girlfriend, actress Portia de Rossi. Both celebrities, like gay and lesbian couples across the state, said they were moved by last Thursday’s California Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

“As an American, I was delighted that we’re getting closer and closer to more truly being faithful to the Constitution,” said Takei.

Referring there to his boyhood experience as one of thousands of Japanese-Americans sent to U.S. internment camps during World War II, Takei said he was “keenly mindful of the subtle and not so subtle discrimination that the law can impose.”

Takei said he and Altman have been together 21 years, since meeting at a gay men’s running club in Los Angeles, where Altman trained the actor for his first marathon.

The actor first came out publicly in 2005 to campaign for gay marriage rights after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a same-sex marriage bill passed by the state Legislature.

Publicity surrounding those appearances led to a recurring guest spot on Howard Stern’s radio show.

The actor, who sang country songs on the recently canceled CBS reality show “The Secret Talents of the Stars,” also has a recurring role on the NBC television series “Heroes” and will next be seen in the new Adam Sandler movie comedy “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan,” opening in June.

He remains best remembered for his role as the Lt. Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise, on the original 1960s “Star Trek” television series.

Additional reporting by Steve Gorman, editing by Dean Goodman

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