Media Relations: media commentary and criticism

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

media and society

-- media and society -- the chapel of love

Oh, please. What else was I going to call this entry? At least I resisted trying to find a pun about Nurse Chapel.

Star Trek's Sulu Plans to Marry Partner | The Underwire from

By Jenna Wortham EmailMay 19, 2008 | 6:03:07 PMCategories: Celebrity, Current Affairs, Movies, Sci-Fi, Television

17_3 George Takei, best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek, revealed on his blog last week that he will marry his long-term partner, Brad Altman.

Takei, who recently guest-starred on Heroes, announced the planned union and celebrated the recent California Supreme Court ruling to end the state's ban on gay marriage.

"Our California dream is reality," Takei wrote. "Brad Altman and I can now marry.... At long last, the barrier to full marriage rights for same-sex couples has been torn down."

Takei (pictured, far right) says he and Altman have yet to set a date: "Brad and I are enjoying the delicious dilemma of deciding where, when and how we will be married."

Similarly, talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres recently announced plans to tie the knot with her actress girlfriend, Portia de Rossi.

DeGeneres and Takei Vow to Marry Partners

May 20, 2008 —

Oh, my! George Takei and Ellen DeGeneres, two of Hollywood's unambiguously gay actors are the first to announce they will marry their partners under California's new same sex marriage law.

Cultural critics agree that most of America is ready for a gay Ozzie and Harriet or Ward and June Cleaver in their favorite stars and that the surrounding publicity will likely help their careers.

"It's a move that sends an important message to the heartland while garnering tons of press for the celebrities themselves," Michael Musto, columnist for the Village Voice, told "It's a 'good for them and good for me' kind of action."

DeGeneres, host of the syndicated talk show "Ellen," has said she will marry her partner of four years, Australian actress Portia de Rossi, 36, who had roles in "Ally McBeal" and "Arrested Development."

The 50-year-old film actress previously had a widely publicized affair-gone-wrong with Anne Heche before dating Alexandra Mary Hedison, 38, of the "L Word."

The Emmy Award-winning actress has come a long way since her character Ellen Morgan came out to a therapist played by Oprah Winfrey in the fourth season of her groundbreaking series, "Ellen."

Mr. Sulu Marries

George Takei, the original Mr. Sulu from television's "Star Trek," said he will marry longtime partner Brad Altman this summer. For the last two years, Takei, 71, has served as announcer on "The Howard Stern Show" on satellite radio.

"Our California dream is reality," Takei wrote on his Web site. "At long last, the barrier to full marriage rights for same-sex couples has been torn down."

Takei, who also had a role on the television Sci-Fi series "Heroes" last year, has been an outspoken advocate for the same-sex marriage bill, which the California Assembly just passed this week, allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry....Musto, who wrote the cover story for Out magazine, "The Gay Closet and Why the Stars Won't Come Out and Play," said sealing the marriage contract won't be career-damaging for either DeGeneres or Takei.

"Ellen is America's sweetheart and has been out of the closet in the press, doing so a tiny bit more on her show lately," he said. "People have known for years that, 'Yep, she's gay.' I've been urging her to be more out on her show -- she seemed a bit ambiguous for a while, though she's been out in the media -- so, I applaud this exciting step forward. In George's case, it can only help to get renewed interest in his career," he said.

[...] Ted Casablanca, a columnist for E! Online and a gay man who just "married" his partner in a civil union ceremony in Hawaii, agrees that public perception of same-sex couples goes up a "notch" when stars are legally able to marry. "Wherever the notch is to legalize in society, it doesn't matter," Casablanca said. "It's one more notch and the more notches you get, we're a part of a culture that is less inflammatory and incendiary."

Though gay marriage will make no difference for DeGeneres' strong fan base, it could have a more shocking impact on those who are still in the closet, he said. "If Tom Cruise said, 'Guess what? After all these years, I decided to be gay and get married,' that's hugely different," Casablanca said. DeGeneres and Takei are "the types of stars who can afford to do whatever they want with their reputation. For Ellen, it's not a risk of alienating her fan base," he said. "She's already so family-oriented and not a sexy, slinky broad out there. She's very domesticated and secure.

"These people have already made up their minds that she is one of them," he said. "She'll say, 'You're not going to believe what Portia did emptying the dishwasher last night.'"

That conventional tone is one of the reasons Casablanca has -- so far -- not thought about legally marrying his partner, though he admits he might consider it for financial reasons so the couple can file jointly on their taxes. "I never wanted to get married, like my parents bickering all those years or like Britney," he said. "Our very nature [as gay men] used to be bucking the system. That's how we were raised." [...]

It will be interesting to see how this makes a difference to people's careers -- or doesn't make a difference, as the case may be. Like they said, I can't imagine that it could possibly harm either DeGeneres or Takei, and Portia de Rossi's career seems to be ticking along quite nicely as well.

Posted by iain at 02:18 PM in category media and society