George Takei criticized Utah Governor Gary Herbert while attending the Sundance Film Festival, saying that Herbert’s decision to block same-sex marriages in Utah was akin to segregation-era Alabama Governor George Wallace.

Governor Herbert caused outrage among gay rights activists when he declared that he would not recognize gay marriages in the state of Utah. Thirteen hundred couples were married in the few weeks window between when Utah’s ban on gay marriage was lifted and when the Supreme Court ruled to stop gay marriages in Utah.

George Takei Criticizes Utah Gov. Gary Herbert

“He reminds me of Governor George Wallace about 50 years who stood in the schoolhouse doorway trying to deny little black girls and little black boys equality in education. That’s what Governor Herbert is trying to do, deny justice. These are people that legally, lawfully got married, and he’s saying No, no, no,” Takei told The Wrap.

In multiple interviews and press conferences to promote his film, Takei took the opportunity to speak out against Gov. Herbert, and expressed his view that the Governor’s decision not to recognize the same-sex marriages that had already occurred is malicious.

“Gov. Herbert is consciously bringing harm to 2,6000 citizens of Utah. That’s mean-spirited. He didn’t have to do that. Your governor is trying to put toothpaste back in the tube,” Takei told The Salt Lake Tribune.

Takei has also drawn inspiration from Star Trek, the show on which he originated the character of Hikaru Sulu, to express his determination for equal rights, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “In Star Trek we have a slogan: ‘resistance is futile.’

‘To Be Takei’ Premieres At Sundance

Takei, an outspoken gay activist who married his longtime partner, Brad Altman in 2008 after gay marriage was legalized in California, is attending Sundance to premiere his film To Be Takei. To Be Takei, a profile documentary from director Jennifer Kroot, of course, takes its title from Takei’s activist slogan, “It’s OK to be Takei.”

The film follows Takei and Altman as they go to a Comic Con and meet with Takei’s fans, both from his days on Star Trek and his recent second act as a social media celebrity. The film also delves into Takei’s childhood and his experience in a Japanese internment camps.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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