January 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm EDT | by Phil Reese
Takei, Aiken compete to be next Trump ‘Apprentice’

Though he is opposed to equal benefits for same-sex couples, Donald Trump’s next ‘Celebrity Apprentice‘ could be gay ‘American Idol’ Clay Aiken or married Star Trek star George Takei.

In March, when the Des Moines Register asked the then-rumored potential candidate for the G.O.P. Presidential nomination about whether or not same-sex marriage ought to remain legal in Iowa, Trump responded with a sound declaration against maintaining the law.

“They should not be able to marry,” the television host and casino magnate told the paper.

When pressed as to whether or not same-sex couples should have access to the same rights as opposite-sex couples, Trump responded his “attitude on it has not been fully formed.”

“As of this moment, I would say no and no,” he told the paper.

But the icon of wealth may be forced to reevaluate his position this February when openly gay former Star Trek star George Takei — who married his long-time partner Brad Altman in California in 2008 — joins the cast of the NBC show in its fifth season this year. Takei will be raising money and awareness on the show for the Japanese American National Museum, to which he will donate his winnings if he takes the top spot.

Aside from Takei, gay ‘American Idol’ runner up Clay Aiken will also join the cast. Aiken is a native of North Carolina which is facing a ballot measure to amend the state constitution to bar same-sex unions in that state. Aiken, who is an outspoken advocate for curbing LGBT youth bullying, came out in People magazine in 2008 after years of speculation. He will appear on the show to raise money and awareness for his charity, the National Inclusion Project, which promotes inclusive classrooms and playgrounds for children with disabilities.

Takei and Aiken will also be joined by prominent straight allies singer Deborah Gibson, Former ‘Danity Kane’ singer and ‘Making the Band’ cast member Aubrey O’Day, who is appearing on the show to raise money for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and long-time outspoken LGBT activist, comedian Lisa Lampanelli, who is playing for AIDS charity Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Two other scheduled cast members playing for AIDS charities will be TV personality Arsenio Hall, playing for the Magic Johnson Foundation and Miss Universe 2008 Dayana Mendoza, playing for the Latino Commission on AIDS.

Also joining the cast will be racer Michael Andretti, talk show host Adam Carolla, ‘Incredible Hulk’ actor Lou Ferrigno, magician Penn Jillette, ‘Twisted Sister’ front man Dee Snyder, ‘American Chopper’ cast member Paul Teutul Sr., actress Tia Carrere, ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’ cast member Teresa Giudice, ‘Growing Up Gotti’ cast member Victoria Gotti, 70s supermodel Cheryl Tiegs, and model Patricia Velasquez


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