George Takei revealed in a new interview with The Stage that he publicly came out as gay in 2005 out of anger over Arnold Schwarzenegger’s decision to veto a bill that would’ve legalized gay marriage in California. Schwarzenegger served as the governor of California from 2003 to 2011. Takei came out as gay in California’s Frontiers magazine, and the “Star Trek” veteran had already been in a relationship with his husband for 18 years by that time.
“Why did it take me so long to come out?” Takei said. “Because I’m an actor and I wanted to work. I learned at a young age that you couldn’t be an openly gay actor and hope to be employed. And I was already an Asian-American actor, so I was already limited a lot. To this day, there are big Hollywood actors who are not out in order to protect their careers.”
“I was closeted for a long period of my career,” Takei continued. “I was silent during the AIDS crisis, which fills me with guilt, although I did write checks and checks to AIDS organizations. Why did I come out when I did? Because Schwarzenegger presented himself as a movie star who had worked and was friends with gays and lesbians, many of whom voted for him, but then vetoed that bill. I was so angry that I spoke to the press for the first time as a gay man at the age of 68.”
Schwarzenegger rejected a bill to legalize gay marriage that was introduced by Democratic Assemblyman Mark Leno. Schwarzenegger said at the time (via The Independent), “This bill simply adds confusion to a constitutional issue.” He vetoed another bill to legalized same-sex marriage two years later.
Head over to The Stage’s website to read Takei’s recent interview in its entirety.