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George Michael
Sounds Off on Gay Marriage in U.S.

George Michael
Sounds Off on Gay Marriage in U.S.

Georgemicaehl

George Michael is a most happy fellow these days: He's kicking off his first North American tour in 17 years, and same-sex marriage has just been legalized in California.

George Michael is a most happy fellow these days: He's kicking off his first North American tour in 17 years, and same-sex marriage has just been legalized in California.

"It's way overdue," the 44-year-old English pop star told the Associated Press. "It's something that happened...almost without a whisper in England, but it was basically because we weren't that concerned about the word 'marriage.' "

Michael, who is openly gay, said, "Because this is a much more religious society, there are a huge number of people who want [their] unions to be part of something that they can place in their religion, so [marriage is] much more important here. I think that's why it's so long in arriving here, but I think it's fantastic, obviously."

Hundreds of gay and lesbian couples rushed to county clerks' offices throughout California this week to obtain marriage licenses and exchange vows as same-sex marriage became legal Monday afternoon.

The next day Michael kicked off the multicity 25 Live tour at the San Diego Sports Arena.

Why so long between concerts here?

"The '90s were a bit of a disaster for me in so many ways. On a personal level, I don't think I could have toured. Also, I had some physical problems with my back that are now sorted, and I just wasn't in the right state of mind," he told the AP.

Michael, who recently released his greatest hits album, Twenty Five, in the United States, has said this will be his last arena tour because he wants to lead a quieter life.

"I have got other interests than just making music. I would like to follow those interests through. You never know, in five years I might be back here begging you all to forgive me," he said. "But I really think I can do much more constructive work as an artist if I step out of this again."

Michael sang in the 1980s pop group Wham! before stepping out for a successful solo career. His hits include "Faith," ''Father Figure," and "One More Try."

He has had several run-ins with the law, on charges ranging from drug possession to lewd conduct. (AP)

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