Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Monday, 15 September 2008

George and Ellen get hitched - not to each other, I hasten to add!

Yes, George Takei - better known as 'Sulu' in the original Star Trek has married his partner of 21 years, Brad Altman, in a multi-cultural extravanganza; and how can I fail to feature the procession into the ceremony preceded by a kilt-clad piper!

Assisting were former Star Trek colleagues Walter Koenig ('Chekov') as best man and Nichelle Nichols ('Uhuru') as best lady.

Here's a very interesting interview George Takei and Brad Altman gave last month in which the topics of Star Trek, gay marriage and internment (George, a Japanese-American, was interned as a child during World War II) were discussed:

Thirdly, here's an interview with the two soon after their intention to marry first became known a couple of months ago:

... and finally, here's the lovely video, which I saw a week or so ago, of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi (see origin of her name here) homely yet glamourous wedding montage and the preparations for it, including a touching comment from Portia's mother, who had come from Australia for the wedding:

Not being in any way 'religious' myself, at least not so far as Christianity is concerned, it is of no interest to me personally whether the mechanism by which same-sex partners may legalise their relationships is by way of Civil Partnership (as we have had here in the UK for some years) or by way of Marriage (as has been legalised recently in California and a few other places in the US and elsewhere for a few years), but it is certainly important that same-sex partners be able to declare their relationships proudly and openly both before their own families and friends and before the state - and to accept the obligations and receive the benefits that accrue to any other legally partnered couple. It is a curious feature that in the US, where the state and religion are separated formally, that religion plays such a large part in most Americans' lives and the consequent importance that so many seem to attribute to the status of 'marriage', whereas in the UK, where religion has a formal role in the legislature, but our politics are almost wholly 'secular', that the status of 'marriage' is important only to the relatively small proportion of homosexuals for whom religion occupies an intergral place in their lives - for the rest, such as me, it is of no imortance, particularly as the regime of 'civil partnership' seems to me to provide a perfectly acceptable level of recognition. But that's not how it is for most of our American cousins, theoretically a constitutionally secular nation, created specifically in rejection of the monarchical regime which we in the UK continue to enjoy or endure (depending on your point of view), but which nevertheless bears on its currency the phrase 'In God We Trust'. It's a bizarre conundrum that affects in profound ways how our two countries operate, but in this context it is necessary to put aside all such deep analyses and simply wish George and Brad, and Ellen and Portia the happiest and most enduring marriages with their chosen partners. Congratulations!

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