Elton John is against gay marriage, says civil unions are for same sex couples

Elton John has made an argument that sounds like it’s about semantics but is more about basic rights. The 61 year-old pop star has been in a civil partnership with his same sex partner, David Furnish, since 2005. They threw a huge reception for the event with many celebrity guests at an estimated cost of £ 1 million.

Elton says a civil union is all that same sex couples need and that they should confuse the issue by asking for full marriage rights like opposite sex couples:

Elton John says the reason Prop. 8 in California passed, banning gay marriages, is because of one word — marriage.

“I don’t want to be married,” he told USA TODAY’s Donna Freydkin at a New York fundraiser last night. “I’m very happy with a civil partnership. If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership,” said John. “The word marriage, I think, puts a lot of people off. You get the same equal rights that we do when we have a civil partnership. Heterosexual people get married. We can have civil partnerships.”

Of his partner David Furnish, he says, “We’re not married. Let’s get that right. We have a civil partnership. What is wrong with Proposition 8 is that they went for marriage. Marriage is going to put a lot of people off, the word marriage.”

[From Blogs.usatoday.com via Showhype]

Marriage may just be a word, but it also involves a whole set of rights and allowances not afforded in a civil union in the US, particularly recognition by the federal government. Activists say that civil unions are a kind of “separate but unequal” partnership for same sex couples and that they still face countless legal and monetary issues that don’t affect married couples. Elton John doesn’t care about any of that stuff, though, he’s richer than some countries and doesn’t have to worry if his partner will get insurance money or his government pension if he dies or becomes disabled. He thinks that all the other gay couples be satisfied with a tenuous legal status too. Maybe he’s secretly worried that his assets won’t be protected if he ends up getting married.

Elton John and David Furnish are shown on 11/11/08 at a benefit for his Aids foundation at Cipriani Wall Street in NY. Credit: WENN

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41 Responses to “Elton John is against gay marriage, says civil unions are for same sex couples”

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  1. geronimo says:

    He sounds awfully out of touch with the reality of what ordinary same-sex couples face. Either that, or he’s assuming that civil partnerships in America offer the same rights as civil partnerships in the UK. And that’s a pretty ignorant and offensively blase viewpoint if he didn’t bother to do his homework before opening his mouth.

  2. elisha says:

    For starters, saying “what’s wrong with Prop 8 is that they went for marriage” is 100% incorrect. Gay people could already get married in California, so Prop 8 did not “go FOR marriage”. It went against it. Duh, Elton.

    Secondly, I don’t know what the laws in the UK are, but Civil Unions don’t mean the same thing in California. Domestic partnerships only give you SOME of the same rights, including insurance, etc. A bigger issue here is taxes. Gay couples with children end up paying more taxes when it comes to figuring which partner’s income paid for what percentage of each dependent. If they could be legally married, they could file together.

    Elton has no children, doesn’t have to pay U.S. taxes, is insanely rich, and probably doesn’t have to worry too much about income logistics with his partner. So he just plain does not know.

    Elton doesn’t even live in the same COUNTRY has the couples fighting for their rights here in the Golden State, so he should butt out.

    Sounds to me like rich ol’ Elton is gearing up to not have to fork over a huge chunk of his wealth to his partner should they divorce. “Wait, what? Alimony? We’re not married; I don’t believe in gay marriage!”

  3. CandyKay says:

    I don’t think there’s only one “right” answer to this question, and that everyone who disagrees is stupid, homophobic or self-absorbed and selfish, as you suggest Elton John is above.

    I think it’s possible to support the right of gay people to love each other and create loving, lifelong families without endorsing a specific legal structure.

    Whenever I’m told that there’s only one “correct” way to think I get very uncomfortable.

  4. Lauri says:

    If 1 adult + 1 adult = a loving relationship, exactly why is it so shocking that they might wish to marry? It’s a bunch of hoo-ha over nothing. Marry who you want, as long as we are talking about adults.

    I don’t understand the objections. My heterosexual marriage isn’t minimalized because someone else chooses to marry.

    I’m just done with this argument. If anyone can cite just one…JUST ONE…single, logical reason for gay marriage to be banned, then I’d like to hear it. There are a couple of ground rules, though:

    1. Argument cannot be based on religion. Your religion might not be the same as my religion. We are talking about marriage in the legal, not religious sense of the word. If anyone cites a religous text or figure or saying, the argument will be considered invalid.

    2. Claiming that it “harms society” is not good enough. Explain precisely HOW it causes harm to society.

    I know I’m venting a little, but there are issues that are so much more important that actually deserve our attention. How private citizens choose to pursue their version of happiness (as long as it harms none), is simply not anyone else’s business, including the government.

  5. Rougelatete says:

    That’s fine, Elton, if YOU don’t want to get married. BUT I DO. And, it’s not your God-given privilege (or anyone else’s for that matter) to deny me the right to marry whoever I want so long as they are an adult and consenting. One day, we will look back on this and society will feel so embarassed about continuing to treat certain citizens as second class (but still requiring them to have the same responsibilities such as paying taxes) and maintaining the antiquated system of “separate but equal.” Do whatever the hell you want with your life, Elton. But, stay the f*ck out of mine.

  6. Rougelatete says:

    @ CandyKay: I appreciate your sentiments about supporting people loving one another. That’s what this world needs: more love. But, we do need a specific legal structure that protects the RIGHTS of these people to create and support their families. Consider this: a lesbian couple has two children (each woman has one biologically). They cannot legally get married and they cannot legally adopt the “other’s” child as their own. One of the children is in a horrific car accident but only one of his parents can visit him in the hospital because their legal right to wed or adopt was not protected. So, the child suffers without one of his primary caregivers and the mother that could not visit him suffers as well. That’s a devastating scenario for me to think about, but it happens.

  7. CandyKay says:

    You’re absolutely right, Rougelatete, mothers should have the right to access to their children. I have a lesbian couple in my circle of friends and their children adore their two mommies.

    Adoption is an important right. But why does adoption have to be part of a specific legal structure called marriage?

    I’m not opposed to gay marriage, but I am opposed to “my way or the highway” politics.

  8. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa says:

    WTF ELTON?!?!?! jackass…

  9. Concerned says:

    Seriously I agree with Elton, Civil Unions should be for gays. Marriage is a religious ceremony and should be respected as such. We can not make the laws force churches to do things against there beliefs. Only thing is Civil Unions should be be equal to a Marriage in the eyes of the law. This way everyone’s happy! and the world can be full of rainbows again!

  10. chicagowind says:

    I agree with ‘concerned’! I think everyone should get equal rights, no matter who they choose. But, most churches view homosexuality and gay marriage in a damning light, so most people raised in churches or religious are against it. Which is probably why prop 8 was passed. I’m not in cali, but I can bet it was preached about in some churches and that’s probably why it passed. Elton is right, you add the word marriage and it’s trouble.

  11. elisha says:

    Concerned, as a married person I’m deeply offended at your reference to it as a “religious ceremony”. My wedding had nothing to do with religion, just a deep and pure love between my husband and I. That’s all the “spirituality” I need.

    It’s a LEGAL ceremony.


    And the law has every right to define marriage, hence the term “LEGAL ceremony.”

    If “marriage” is “just a word”, why is everyone so up in arms over who uses it? It seems the people who say it’s “just a word” are the ones who’re most reluctant to accept that word being applied to more people.

  12. Antony says:

    It seems the worst thing to happen to gay rights is gay rights activists. They’ve lost their noodle with these Mormon church protest.You’d think the time to protest would be BEFORE the vote and not AFTER.

  13. Ana' says says:

    What Elton doesn’t seem to get is that there are a lot of legal rights that come with marriage. Yes, it is a religious ceremony but its also a legal partnership. Do you know of any state that allows a marriage without a license?

  14. Lucinda says:

    The reality is that you should take marriage out of the equation for ALL couples, hetero and homo. You require EVERYONE to get a civil union that affords them all the legal rights marriage currently does. Change marriage to a religious ceremony only as it should be and truly separate church and state. Just my opinion and I know it will never happen.

  15. Rosanna says:

    This only shows that not all gays (or bis) are in favor of gay marriage. Gays in favor of it should stop misrepresenting themselves as if they represented the entire LGBT population. Like Elton, I oppose gay marriage. Like Elton, I belong to the LGBT population. Those activists sure don’t represent ME and it bothers me that so many people think that they do represent me.

  16. JaundiceMachine says:

    The problem with civil unions is that they are at the legal discretion of the State. Individual States get to pick and choose what rights they want to give, and what rights they wish to withhold – based on your sexual orientation.

    For example: A civil union in California might allow for many or most of the same rights bestowed upon a married couple, but in Wisconsin the same concept of “civil union” might translate to just sharing a library card and car insurance.

    And while civil unions may be the best recourse at this time, they are in no way equivalent to a legal marriage. Not in name, nor in theory. Simple Sociology 101 – by the simple application of labels, it is easy to “other” or alienate large sub-sects of the population. Perhaps civil unions may eventually evolve to be progressive enough to endow all rights to all couples, but they will never be called “marriages” and thus gay couples will worth less than a hetro couple.

  17. Lisa says:

    Concerned: Marriage is a religious ceremony? Mine sure wasn’t when I got married. I refuse to have anything to do with religion in my wedding or my life.
    What does Elton care about Prop 8 anyway? England allows gay unions.

  18. ER says:

    Here’s what I don’t understand. When a state allows gay marriage (like California did) and many people wishing to be married flock to the state and make it official, is it then recognized as a marriage back in their home state? Are they only married in California and only have marital rights there?

  19. amanda says:

    ban marriage all together, i think is the answer. civil unions for all. detroy the word “marraige” because even to a lot of married people, it doesn’t mean anything but a tax break.

    gay or straight – ban marriage for everyone.

  20. Feebee says:

    I’ve got to defend the diva bitch here. He may have misspoke but what he was basically saying had merit. Though also he may have been wrongly assuming that civil unions in the US are the same as the UK which apparently they are VERY NOT. Is the gay community clinging to the word ‘marriage’ because so many are against giving it? If civil unions in the US were recognised as a marriage without the wording would that be sufficient? If it’s really about civil rights, then compromise needs to happen from both sides. I wonder what the reaction would be if marriage became a ‘religious’ act ie hetrosexual couples ‘marrying’ at City Hall became civil unions instead of marriages……. the mind boggles.

  21. devilgirl says:

    Elton is entitled to his opinion. He is gay and that is how he feels, so who are we to say his opinion is out of touch or wrong. It’s an OPINION!

  22. c money says:

    I think that people who are all upset that people are calling marriage a religious ceremony are being really closed minded here. For many many people marriage is interpreted as a covenant between two people and god. Seeing marriage this way isn’t the only way to interpret it, but neither is the cold sterile view of it as a legal contract.

    That being said, I think that the big issue with Prop 8, on both sides of the issue, is the real ambiguity of interpretation. For some people marriage is a sacred religious ceremony.

    Future reincarnations of this issue need to be more precise about their expectations, or verbiage. I dunno. I agree with Elton. If it wasn’t called marriage, but still guaranteed the same rights, would Prop 8 have passed?

  23. yasmin says:

    c money – huh? how can you say somebody is closed minded just cos they see it differently to u? If you dont believe in god, you’re not going to see it as having anything to do with religion…

    I have my beliefs.. that doesn’t mean I can’t see it any other way, but I stick by what I believe to be correct. I personally dont believe marriage HAS to have anything to do with relgion. I realise for some it does, but I don’t see it that way because I wasn’t brought up to believe in religion – but I WAS bought up to believe in marriage. That doesn’t make me closed minded it just means that I see things differently to a religious person. And I would get offended when people refer to marriage as ONLY a religious thing.

    Traditionally, marriage was about religion – back in the old days it was all conducted by a church. But when Governments & the law decided to get involved it became an EITHER/OR…

    Personally I think that the lack of equal rights btwn hetero’s & homo’s is absolutely disgusting. Lots of people use the argument “if same sex’s are allowed to get married, maybe I should just marry my dog?”… but thats BS. If two consenting human adults want to get married & spend their life together, they should be allowed to. Nobody in this world has the RIGHT to impose their beliefs on others, NOBODY!! And to all those people who use religion to back up their homophobia.. have you actually spoken to God?? Or are you just continuing hear-say? how dare you preach to us about what God thinks or believes to be right when you’ve never met/spoken/seen OR BEEN SHOWN ANY REAL PROOF THAT THERE IS A GOD… I’m not against believing in God, whatever gets you through the day.. BUT to force other people to believe what you believe? That is evil.

  24. Kristin says:

    Why would he say this before knowing all the facts? Civil Unions are not the same and don’t come with nearly as many rights. I would hope one day I could get married to someone I love, who just happens to be a girl, and have that not be a big deal.

  25. RaraAvis says:

    I agree with Elton. A legal relationship between two people of the same sex is not the same as a legal relationship between two people of opposite sexes. I did not determine this – history did. This new type of relationship deserves it’s own title, and the traditional term deserves to be used in it’s traditional sense. That’s all he’s saying.

  26. Troy says:

    Elton John is an uninformed Brit who has no business sticking his nose in discussions of American liberty. When he starts paying my taxes, I’ll ask for his opinion.

  27. tomas says:

    Gays in California shouldn’t have to pay 100 per cent of their State taxes since they are not considered equal citizens in the state of California.

    You should be able to check a box on your Tax form and get a tax cut if you’re gay.

  28. Dubdub2000 says:

    Wow! I actually agree with good old Elton. I think a lot of people who have no objections to a civil partnership for same sex couples giving the same rights as marriage have a problem with the term marriage being applied to such a union. As long as one keeps calling it marriage, there will always be so religious fervor brought into the mix, if you call it civil partnership, then religion has nothing to do with it and something like prop 8 probably would not pass. Now the question is what is more important : getting the rights or the label?

  29. Beth says:

    In response to Lauri’s comment:

    You say that if people are in love, and as long as they are adults, then they should have the right to marry. I keep hearing that Prop 8 isn’t a religious matter, it is a discrimination matter, it concerns protecting “minority groups” from discrimination. If this is the case, and if it is just about letting people who are in love get married then what about incest and polygamists? A brother is in love with his sister, they are “in love” and want to get married. . .a man wants three wives, they are all consenting adults and are “in love” and want to get married. . .both of these groups are also minority groups, and my goodness, I wouldn’t want to discriminate against them, then they should be able to get married too. There is the non-religious argument for those of you who wanted one. You may consider if farfetched, but it’s not. Gay marriage is just the beginning and if you want to argue for it based on saying that it is discrimination agaist minority groups, then again, polygamy and incest should become legal, because if you don’t think that will follow, you are mistaken. Where does it end? Wrong is wrong and right is right.

  30. what says:

    beth – incest is only a problem for one reason: your children will be inbred and thus be more likely to suffer diseases and deformity. otherwise why do you care? adam and eve made the rest of the world via incest.

    as for polygamy, you say that gay marriage is the beginning, but actually polygamy is the beginning. polygamy was the norm long before monogamy, and continues to be the norm in other cultures and religions, as well as for some sects of mormons in this country.
    so the jews in biblical times used to have multiple wives all the time, and it never led to anyone marrying a dog.
    and, as i said, adam and eve populated the world via incest (according to the bible), and that never led to dog-marriage either.

    so why would gay marriage lead to these things?

    again, incest and polygamy all over the bible, which predates gay marriage by a long shot. and gay marriage is by far the least offensive.

  31. Beth says:

    In response to What?

    First off, you keep mentioning be married to a dog. . .why? I never said anything about being married to a dog. Is that what you think is’t gonna lead to? And I don’t care if some religions practice polygmay already (it has been outlawed by Mormons though some still practice it, but the church doesn’t recognize it. . .but don’t get me started on the mormons, they have some messed up idealology) and though it was mentioned in the bible. . .it still doesn’t make it right. As for the incest thing. . .okay, true, they could have children with deformities. . .you think that is the only reason why it should be outlawed, you don’t think it’s wrong. Fine, let’s eliminate the children issue, two brothers are in love, no children in that case, is it wrong? Gay’s can’t even produce children. . .from a pure Darwinism perspective that is just unnatural. I don’t care if it’s all over the bible, it still doesn’t make it right. And in your words, gay marriage is the least offenisve versus polygamy. . .how? If a guy a wants three wives, and the wives don’t mind and the husband surely doesn’t mind, and they’re all in love. . .how is it offensive? Who are they harming? Eventually, if you keep looking at it like that, just like how you view gay marriage, as “they are in love, they are not harming anybody, . . .” then eventually you will start arguing for it and see nothing wrong with it, it is a slippery slope my friend. It will start to happen. Tell me why polygamy is more offensive, then, in your words. By the way, homosexulatity was mentioned in the Bible too, and I remember it not turning out so well for them. Wrong is wrong, even when everybody is doing it, right is right even when no one is doing it.

    Also, this may not be you, but the other arguments for why gay marriage should be accepted and acknoledged in the church is because Christians are suppose to love and accept people right? Just like Jesus did? Yes we are called to love people. A parent loves his/ her child but that doesn’t mean they let him steal. You can love your child and not accept his/ her behavior. It’s because of love, and out of love, that that behavior is not accepted. They can come to church just fine, and be welcomed, but it doesn’t mean the church is going to accept and condone the behavior. Murders are allowed to come to church. . .does that mean we thing murder is okay. . No! So people need to stop confusing love with acceptance. Ask any parent if the two are the same.

  32. what says:

    beth: i’m sorry. i just assumed that you believed in the bible, so i tried to base my argument around that.

    incest: ok fine i think it’s gross, wrong, etc. but why would i outlaw it? how could such a law even be enforced? laws shouldn’t be about what grosses me out or what i personally think is wrong. laws should be about preventing people from harming other people.
    if i think something is wrong, i just won’t do it.
    other people are free to have different opinions on what is wrong/right and act as they see fit. it’s called freedom.

    polygamy: again, i personally wouldn’t want to be married to multiple people. but if someone else does, why should i care? honestly, why? how is their marriage affecting me in any way?

    my point is, people do things on a daily basis that i think are wrong: hurt each other, cheat on each other, lie to each other. but i cannot outlaw these behaviors because they offend me.
    right is right and wrong is wrong, and we live in a free country where the decision of right and wrong is left up to the individual.

    p.s. i’m trying to see this from your POV and talk about it as such. myself, i don’t see anything wrong or offensive about gay behavior, relationships, marriage. two people are in love. that’s seems to me like a pretty good thing.

  33. Beth says:

    I’m sorry to say it. . .but you kind of proved my point in your response. You are now O.K. with polygamy, which was my point. Everything will soon be a “free to do as you please. . . whatever goes. . .whatever makes you happy” society. You also say that if you think something is wrong you just won’t do it. . .that’s good, but the problem with that is that so many people think that if it’s legal, then it’s ok, AND that’s why we have laws. You start to become desensitized to it, which is a very scary place to be. BTW, incest is illegal, so is polygamy. Also, though I was never the person that said that gay marriage could lead to marrying a dog like you originally thought. . .based on your statements, that would be o.k. in your eyes too. For instance, your words, though said about polygamy, can be applied to the same scenario as being married to a dog. . .you might think it’s wrong, but if other people don’t, “why should [you]care? honestly, why? how is their marriage affecting [you]in any way?”. You said that “we live in a free country where the decision of right and wrong is left up to the individual” which is true. But sometimes, no I’m sorry all the time, you have to stick up for what you believe is right, that IS how laws are made, that’s democracy, that’s why we vote, it’s based on peoples opinions, majority rules (EX: 52% in CA) That is what opponents of gay marriage are fighting for. If we don’t stick up for what we think is right, and you don’t stick up for what you think is right then who will?

    Further I do believe in the Bible. . .oh no, I said it. . .now you’re gonna call me a crazy christian and disregard what I say. . .but hopefully not. But my argument wasn’t based on that, it was based on exactly what I said. My point about the bible was that, even if it’s done in the bible, that doesn’t make it okay or right, the bible (and you should read it, and I don’t mean that as a derogatory remark in any way)consists of stories and tesimonies from an imperfect people. Jesus came to save. . .if we’re perfect, theres no need for a savior. So if the characters did it in the bible. . .who cares? They are not perfect. . .their lives are a testimony to God’s grace. Christians are not perfect. We are all gonna have to answer for our actions. Me. . you,. . everybody. I know. . .you probably don’t believe that. . .but anyways.

  34. what says:

    dogs aren’t people and dogs can’t possibly consent to having sexual relations with a person. if someone is having sex with a dog, it’s hurting the dog.
    as long as someone is having sexual relations with someone who is consenting and isn’t being hurt, then i don’t care and still don’t see why i should.
    no matter how disgusting a sexual act may be in my eyes, i will fight to keep it legal because that means that later on, my right to choose to do whatever i want in bed won’t be taken away from me.

    you are saying that once something is legal then people will think it’s ok. but as i said, lots of stuff that i think is wrong IS legal, like cheating on your spouse. we don’t put people in jail for that.
    but i’m not about to launch a crusade for such a law.
    just because it’s legal to lie to and cheat on your spouse, do you do it?
    no, because you have your own moral compass to decide what it is right and wrong.
    so what’s the problem with letting other people decide for themselves? god will judge them – you don’t have to.

  35. Sue says:

    Stephen Gateley (Boyzone)& Matt Lucas (google Little Britain) both of these “celebrities” whom had civil partnerships have both died in this same week. I believe there is a message from Jesus about this, think about that.

  36. 10f18000 says:

    To all of you who agree with Elton: Let’s go back a few years… It’s 1966… It’s illegal for non-whites and whites to get married in many states. Martin Luther King has made his famous statement that he wants to be “the white man’s brother, not his brother-in-law”. Now argue that it’s perfectly acceptable to have a separate institution for mixed-race couples which doesn’t impinge on the “racial purity” of existing marriage laws. Also, argue why Loving v. Virginia should be ruled in favor of Virginia. If you can’t or won’t then you are just today’s equivalent of the bigots of yesteryear whatever your sexual orientation. Prop 8, civil unions, anything except full marriage equality is just another violation of the rights of gays and lesbians under the 14th Amendment.

  37. Mark says:

    A marriage is meant to produce a husband and wife. Therefore a gay “marriage” makes no sense. Elton is right – a civil union should suffice. Why do minorities always get their knickers in a twist if they can’t have something that other people have? Sometimes people protest for things that they don’t really need or want. They just want to protest and moan because they have a large chip on their shoulder.

    As for gays wanting to be in the church – have they read the bible? Or are they oblivious to the passages about sodomites and men lying with men? I’m nor hugely religious, but again this smacks of minorities wanting to force their way into something simply because they don’t like the idea of being excluded.

  38. Katharina says:

    I find Elton’s remarks cynical:

    he hires a surrogate motehr in california to have a child. surrogacy is not allowed in england.

    and then he whines about something, that was written in the US constitution a long time ago but some people denied a specific group – same sex couples. if he does not understand what the opposition to prop 8 is about, he should hire surrogate mothers in a legal system that he DOES understand, india for instance, a former colony of his long-gone british empire.

  39. Darlene says:

    Just for clarity on some of this, don’t you think the fact that England does NOT support gay marriage might be the reason Elton John is over here trying to shame Americans into giving him what his own country won’t.I take exception to him using his celebrity status to try to bully us over something that he, as a non-citizen, has no say in. Elton John is not a U.S. citizen and has no business in our business.

  40. shelly says:

    I found your web site from twitter and it is nice. Thnx for putting up such an informative article

  41. Ammonius says:

    UHHHHHH…..yeah. Elton, you are the man. Finally a homosexual on a macro level that makes sense. Sorry, y’all, but the culture in our country matters. Culturally and historically, the word marriage is one (1) man and (1) woman. Go for civil unions that have the SAME RIGHTS. Elton is right about the word “marriage.” Stealing that from society would be like taking the word “gay” (happy) and usurping it to mean a sexual preference. OH WAIT…that already happened. Stop trying to CHANGE our cultural heritage and decide to ADD your two cents to it instead of abolishing it and targeting it.