Actor and gay rights activist George Takei is known for his outspokenness when talking about gay marriage. As a result, the former "Star Trek" cast member felt the need to jump into the debate surrounding Arizona’s new religious freedom bill.
Appearing as a guest on The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell on Monday night, Takei expressed his outrage with the Arizona bill and proclaimed that not only is Arizona’s SB 1062 “not a religious freedom bill at all” he shrieked that “religious freedom is just a cloak for prejudice.” [See video below.]
Appearing as a guest on Saturday's The Ed Show on MSNBC, actor George Takei omitted "under God" as he started quoting from the Pledge of Allegiance during a segment in which the gay rights activist and former Star Trek cast member reacted to the Supreme Court ruling that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act.
Referring to the one-third of Americans who live in a state where same-sex marriage is legal, Takei proclaimed:
Kent Jones, a guest on MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," branded the MRC's Culture and Media Institute a "usual suspect" in the fight against gay marriage.
Dubbed the "matrimonial recreation correspondent" by Maddow, Jones mocked conservative arguments against gay marriage during a report of George Takei's (Mr. Sulu for the Trekkies out there) scheduled appearance on the "Newlywed Game" alongside his spouse, Brad Altman.
Jones noted that the legalization of same-sex marriage in Iowa "didn't cause the apocalypse" and called Takei and Altman's appearance on the game show a "little marital victory," before launching into the "Star Trek" jokes:
Following a Thursday one-sided report by correspondent John Blackstone, on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez continued to lament the passage of California’s Proposition 8, defining marriage as only between a man and a woman: "On Tuesday, voters in California approved Proposition 8, a ban on gay marriage. It was a stunning defeat for gays and lesbians who are now fighting back." Correspondent Hattie Kauffman reported: "Supporters of gay marriage targeted L.A.'s Mormon temple, protesting the $15 million the church poured into passing Proposition 8." She played a clip of those protesters chanting: "Shame on you! Shame on you! Shame on you!"
Following Kauffman’s report, Rodriguez interviewed ‘Star Trek’ actor George Takei and his partner Brad Altman, who were married in September and have made numerous Early Show appearances since the California Supreme Court allowed gay marriage. Rodriguez, who had interviewed the pair shortly after their marriage, asked: "I remember your jubilation when you talked about your wedding here on the program. You shared your wedding video and you shared your hope that other gay couples in California would continue to get the opportunity that you had. This ban says that they won't. George, the last time we spoke, you felt hopeful. Today, you feel?" Takei replied: "Well, we feel that our marriage is valid, that there's no language in Proposition 8 that says it's retroactive... This is a fundamental right, all-inclusive, as Supreme Court of California has ruled, and this is taking away that fundamental right. It's like saying, you know, you don't have a certain -- a certain group will be -- will have their freedom of speech taken away from them, just because they're red heads."
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed ‘Star Trek’ actor George Takei and his partner Brad Altman about their wedding following California legalizing gay marriage and asked: "George, how was the wedding? Was it everything you dreamed of?" At the end of the segment, Takei declared: "And may sweet equality live long and prosper," making the Star Trek Vulcan hand sign. Rodriguez showed her solidarity, making the hand sign back and replying: "Let me do it. Same to you." [audio excerpt here]
During the segment, Rodriguez asked about the California ballot initiative designed to overturn the state supreme court’s decision to legalize gay marriage: "But there's this proposition on the November ballot, which you're very familiar with, Proposition 8, that may allow California voters to essentially nullify your marriage if they vote for it. George, talk about what that would mean for your marriage and for you emotionally." Takei replied by denouncing the ballot initiative, yet praising democracy:
Well, first of all, we're not going to let it get there, we're going to fight it tooth and nail. Because it's 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 those -- their own particular beliefs into civil law that applies to everyone. That's not democracy. That's not the way it works in the American way. And we are going to make sure that democracy prevails here.
During Monday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Bill Whitaker reported on the marriage of actor George Takei to his partner Brad Altman, following California’s legalization of gay marriage: "George Takei, Sulu on the original Star Trek, used to dream of a future where unimaginable things would happen. Well, his dream came true. Sunday, he legally married his partner of 21 years, Brad Altman." However, later in the segment, Whitaker warned: "But their marriage Knot could be undone by a ballot initiative to, once again, ban gay marriage." Whitaker then made a comparison: "As a child, during World War II, Takei and his family were forcibly removed to internment camps with tens of thousands of other Japanese-Americans. He held his wedding at L.A.'S Japanese-American National Museum to make a point."
Takei went on to explain to Whitaker: "We, as gay Americans, we've been stereotyped and characterized as something frightening and threatening, as Japanese-Americans were before the war." This is not the first time Takei’s comparison was featured on CBS, on June 16th’s Sunday Morning, a report by correspondent John Blackstone featured a quote from Takei: "I know that people can change because I grew up in -- behind the barbed wire fences of American internment camps. That was in my lifetime. And here I am now, a popular actor -- supported by many, many people throughout the country. America changes. America is made up of decent people, fair-minded people." Takei and Altman were also both quests on the Early Show on June 17 with co-host Julie Chen.
On CBS’s "Sunday Morning," correspondent John Blackstone reported on the beginning of legal gay marriages in California starting Monday: "Even for people used to earthquakes, the California Supreme Court's decision last month to legalize same-sex marriage was a jolt. But even as gay couples make plans to wed this week...Opponents say tradition should and will be restored."
Blackstone went on to talk to one such opponent: "Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage is confident Californians will vote to again ban same sex marriage. On the ballot, in November...Brown says the state supreme court improperly overturned the will of the people. In 2000, California voters approved a measure declaring that only marriage between a man and woman is valid or recognized in California."
Out of a total of 8 minutes and 50 seconds of coverage during the show, 2 minutes and 14 seconds was given to highlight opponents of gay marriage. By Sunday’s "Evening News" the total coverage had shrunk to 2 minutes and 35 seconds with 27 seconds given to opponents. Total coverage on Monday’s "Early Show" was 5 minutes and 12 seconds, however, time given to opponents of gay marriage was only 41 seconds, with no mention of Brown or his organization.