01/30/2013 AT 09:45 AM EST
Jim Nabors, forever known as the star of 1964-69's Gomer Pyle, USMC
, married his male partner of nearly 40 years, Stan Cadwallader, on Jan. 15, the retired performer and Hawaii resident told Hawaii News Now
"I'm 82 and he's in his 60s, and so we've been together for 38 years and I'm not ashamed of people knowing," Nabors told the news service. "It's just that it was such a personal thing, I didn't tell anybody."
The ceremony took place before a judge and some neighbors from Hawaii, inside the couple's room at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle. Same-sex marriage was approved in Washington State during last November's general election and took effect Dec. 6.
"I'm very happy that I've had a partner of 38 years and I feel very blessed," said Nabors. "And, what can I tell you, I'm just very happy."
Before they legally tied the knot, "It's pretty obvious that we had no rights as a couple, yet when you've been together 38 years," said Nabors, who in 1994 underwent a liver transplant
, "I think something's got to happen there, you've got to solidify something. And at my age, it's probably the best thing to do."
The two met in 1975, when Cadwallader, now 64, was a Honolulu fire fighter, said Nabors.
Despite his recent nuptials, Nabors insists he's not one to take up the issue of gay marriage, saying: "I'm not a debater. And everybody has their own opinion about this, and actually I'm not an activist, so I've never gotten involved in any of this."