"Gomer Pyle" actor Jim Nabors weds longtime male partner

SEATTLE (Reuters) - American actor Jim Nabors, the star of 1960s television comedy “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.,” married his longtime male partner at a Seattle hotel this month.

Nabors, 82, also a singer, wed 64-year-old Stan Cadwallader, his partner of some 38 years, in a ceremony before a judge on January 15 at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, where the couple traveled after same sex marriage became legal in Washington state last month.

“I was just trying to solidify all of our years together,” Nabors told Reuters on Wednesday from Hawaii, where the two live. “When you find a good friend in this life, you hang on to him.”

Nabors said the ceremony in his hotel room was “very touching” but laughed off any suggestion of feeling different afterward.

“Oh please, nothing’s changed,” Nabors said. “Most of the things you promise, we got through that 38 years ago.”

Nabors, an Alabama native, played goofy gas-station attendant Gomer Pyle on “The Andy Griffith Show” and in the spin-off “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.,” among many other television and musical appearances.

Nabors said he met Cadwallader, a former firefighter in Honolulu, in 1975, and Cadwallader eventually went to work for him.

Nabors said he was open with his colleagues and friends about his sexuality, but that his marriage was a private affair not intended as a public statement in the national debate over gay marriage.

“I am not an activist, particularly. But I think every single human being has the right to choose the person they want to spend their life with,” Nabors said. “That’s not even an argument, it’s just a God-given right.”

Nine of the 50 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriage. Another 31 states have passed constitutional amendments restricting marriage to heterosexual couples.

Nabors’ marriage application and marriage certificate are on file with the Thurston County Auditor in Olympia, according to a clerk in the King County Archives.

Reporting by Eric M. Johnson and Laura Myers in Seattle; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz, Cynthia Johnston and Jim Loney