George Michael Praises Gay Marriage Ruling

06/20/2008 at 09:35 AM EDT

George Michael Praises Gay Marriage Ruling
Kevin Winter/Getty
George Michael, who kicked off his North American tour in San Diego on Tuesday, calls California's legalization of gay marriage "fantastic."

Last month's court decision overturning an 8-year-old ban was "way overdue," the 44-year-old, British pop star, who is openly gay, 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.'"

In the U.S., he added, "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."

The singer's "25 Live" tour began at the San Diego Sports Arena the day after the California Supreme Court's ruling took effect. It is his first North American tour in 17 years.

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