Elton John Says Gays Should Want Separate But Equal

Elton John and David Furnish (and, according to USA Today, their cocker spaniels Marilyn and Arthur), in New York for Monday’s annual benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, told the paper that gays and lesbians should be happy with civil partnerships and forget the fight for marriage equality.

Furnish_eltonSaid Elton: “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…I don’t want to be married. I’m very happy with a civil partnership. If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership. 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.”

However, as folks in New Jersey in civil partnerships have discovered, separate but equal is not equal. Seems those in Connecticut felt the same way.

Comments

  1. says

    Gee thanks, Elton, but in THIS country, Separate But Equal has already been declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Elton’s been hanging out with Eminem too long, it has softened his brains.

  2. Eric says

    So because Elton John personally doesn’t want to get married, he doesn’t think any gays should have the right to get married?

    Thankfully I’ve never liked his music enough to support his career.

  3. says

    Fine, if you live in a country where “Separate by equal” means “separate but equal”, but not the case in the US.

    I sort of agree with Elton; it is that word “Marriage” that is polarizing groups. I’ve always said let the bible thumpers own it, but if my partner and I want to have a civil ceremony and become common law spouses, then give us that right. I could care less if there is a cross on the wall and a drag queen with a burning purse residing over it. Just give me the piece of paper telling us we are legally bound.

    THAT is the right I will fight to have.

    You can keep the word “Marriage”.

  4. EricLA says

    This from a guy who remained closeted for much of the 70s and 80s, EVEN THOUGH most of the world knew he was gay. He self-identified as bi (nothing wrong with that), married a woman, and then later finally came out.

    I agree with Marc, Elton’s mindset is stuck in the past.

  5. stevein denver says

    I suppose Elton also thought that black people should have been fine sitting at the back of the bus since a lot of people in the 60’s and earlier would have been put off by letting them sit anywhere else. I for one will never listen to his music again.

  6. JohnInManhattan says

    Who needs Elisabeth Hasselbeck when you have Elton John spewing right wing talking points?

  7. Quint King says

    This is a generational gaffe. Sorry dear Elton, love ya dearly, but your age makes you not see so clearly.

  8. Jim says

    What Sir Elton doesn’t understand is that unlike U.K., U.S. civil unions/partnerships are granted by the state, and ignored by the federal government. “…You get the same equal rights that we do when we have a civil partnership.” Not. even. close.

  9. freddy says

    This from the gentleman who solicited male escorts at least up until that little ceremony of his. Clearly “marriage” isn’t his bag.

  10. step says

    Sorry! not these days. those are out-of-date comments from an old codger whose grateful for the crumbs off the table

  11. Lars says

    Somebody break the news to Elton, gay marriage is already a fact in Belgium, Canada, Netherlands, Norway (2009-1-1),South Africa and Spain. The Netherlands was the first country to legalize gay marriage.
    In Canada there is no difference between gay and straight marriage, they are the same, including the right to adopt children.
    Elton is an old fool.

  12. Brendan says

    Just because you don’t want to get married, doesn’t want everyone is like that. *YOU* should be happy with it, I’m not going to. God, that comment of his just makes me angry.

  13. Ken C says

    Elton John frames the Prop 8 question as though the LGBT community were attempting to legalize SSM through the ballot process, which is wholly inaccurate. Marriage had been declared a question of equality when the California Supreme Court struck down the state ban in May of this year. Prop 8, as we all know, is a matter of taking away fundamental rights as citizens. He’s clearly uninformed and speaking irresponsibly.

  14. says

    He’s such an idiot. He has not said anything smart in 30 years. Why he is a gay icon is beyond me. Plenty of STRAIGHT stars are better gay icons that this fucked up queen, who don’t forget married a woman at one point to escape his true identity.

  15. Wes says

    The sad thing is the bigots will take things like this to make gays who support marriage equality seem ‘out of touch’ and ‘fringe’.

    See? Elton John’s happy. He agrees with us. You are trying to take marriage from heteros, because it belongs to them.

    He should just shut up and collect royalties.

  16. RS says

    In this country, Civil Unions DON’T provide the same benefits as marriage, not even in California, and I’m not just talking about the symantics of the name. For example, insurance benefits granted to a partner in a civil union are taxable; they are tax-free to a married partner. Civil unions are generally not recognized in other states. If DOMA is repealed, you can sponsor your spouse for immigration, but not your civil union partner. And so forth.

    I’d be fine if civil unions were the legal partnership for everyone, and “married” was a religious institution with no legal standing outside of the respective church. But getting that concept to pass is a lot harder than simply allowing same-sex partners to marry.

  17. Rich says

    Simply make ALL couples, gay or straight, civil unions and that will be acceptable. The “marriage” can become a quaint religious tradition that some choose to observe, but as far as the government is concerned, ONLY civil unions have recognition.

  18. says

    I suppose this is how he positions to Furnish about why they didn’t get married in Toronto, and opted for a British “civil union” instead.
    It would be interesting to hear Furnish’s take on this debate if he was able to speak candidly.

  19. MCnNYC says

    Yeah like we need to take advice from a man who said he was only BI Sexual until his career turned to Musical commedies!

    And perhaps if he advocated civil unions for ALL and leave marriage to the churches I’ll agree but this Servant to the Queen (of England) doth not know what she means when applied to the colonies.

  20. Brandon says

    Can we please stop using the Separate But Equal line?! Comparing Civil unions for gays to separate but equal for blacks is RIDICULOUS. (Andy, I’m surprised at you.)

    There were two problems with separate but equal. The first problem was the fact that it condoned a separation of the races. Ok, that’s bad. But, African Americans did not think that was the major problem. At the time, the primary problem was the fact that things WERE NOT EQUAL. The Civil Rights Movement was not about being able to hang around with white people. It was about being able to have money so that black kids could get the same education as white kids. It was being able to use public facilities (like libraries, parks, and pools) that your tax dollars went toward on the same terms as white people. It was about having enough books and teachers in schools that weren’t falling down. In short, it was about the SUBSTANCE.

    I don’t give a “bleep” what we call state recognized gay relationships. If calling things civil unions will allow gay people the rights they deserve, let’s use that term.

    People get hung up on marriage because of the religious connotation. I’m single, but I don’t want to see my coupled gay friends lose rights over jargon.

    This is one of the reasons why I, as an African American, dislike the comparison of the gay civil rights movement to the African American civil rights movement. This IS NOT because it’s an insult to blacks. It’s quite frankly an honor that the struggle for African American liberation is inspiring to so many people.

    The problem is that it results in the use of outdated language and methodologies without a FULL appreciation of the context.

    If you don’t know people who really lived through separate but equal, couldn’t get served at restaurants and had to go to the back, etc. (like my parents), it’s just a set of words. Don’t use it like a catch phrase for a British sitcom. (And when I say if you don’t know people, I don’t mean that you have to be black to understand or learn what black people were thinking at that time. Please, do some research on separate but equal and see what states and localities tried to pass off as equal. You’ll understand why separate WAS NOT equal.)

    I’ve read some of the literature by the Freedom to Marry folks and I’m not convinced that you cannot write state and federal statutes in such a way to provide civil unions, domestic partnerships, etc. the same rights as “marriage.” If there’s no other way to get there than marriage, ok. Otherwise, let’s use a different term and make sure that we start getting the rights that straight people get.

    Hugs, B,

  21. Brandon says

    Can we please stop using the Separate But Equal line?! Comparing Civil unions for gays to separate but equal for blacks is RIDICULOUS. (Andy, I’m surprised at you.)

    There were two problems with separate but equal. The first problem was the fact that it condoned a separation of the races. Ok, that’s bad. But, African Americans did not think that was the major problem. At the time, the primary problem was the fact that things WERE NOT EQUAL. The Civil Rights Movement was not about being able to hang around with white people. It was about being able to have money so that black kids could get the same education as white kids. It was being able to use public facilities (like libraries, parks, and pools) that your tax dollars went toward on the same terms as white people. It was about having enough books and teachers in schools that weren’t falling down. In short, it was about the SUBSTANCE.

    I don’t give a “bleep” what we call state recognized gay relationships. If calling things civil unions will allow gay people the rights they deserve, let’s use that term.

    People get hung up on marriage because of the religious connotation. I’m single, but I don’t want to see my coupled gay friends lose rights over jargon.

    This is one of the reasons why I, as an African American, dislike the comparison of the gay civil rights movement to the African American civil rights movement. This IS NOT because it’s an insult to blacks. It’s quite frankly an honor that the struggle for African American liberation is inspiring to so many people.

    The problem is that it results in the use of outdated language and methodologies without a FULL appreciation of the context.

    If you don’t know people who really lived through separate but equal, couldn’t get served at restaurants and had to go to the back, etc. (like my parents), it’s just a set of words. Don’t use it like a catch phrase for a British sitcom. (And when I say if you don’t know people, I don’t mean that you have to be black to understand or learn what black people were thinking at that time. Please, do some research on separate but equal and see what states and localities tried to pass off as equal. You’ll understand why separate WAS NOT equal.)

    I’ve read some of the literature by the Freedom to Marry folks and I’m not convinced that you cannot write state and federal statutes in such a way to provide civil unions, domestic partnerships, etc. the same rights as “marriage.” If there’s no other way to get there than marriage, ok. Otherwise, let’s use a different term and make sure that we start getting the rights that straight people get.

    Hugs, B,

  22. Donovan says

    Obviously, he doesn’t understand how this country works.

    That might be fine for HIM, and for Brits who actually HAVE the right to get civil partnerships, we we have neither and are certainly, certainly, not equal here.

    You know, I’ve never liked his personality, and now I like it even less.

  23. Matt says

    In his defense, he’s from England and doesn’t understand how our courts found the whole ‘separate but equal’ thing to be inherently unequal. Also, he did a LOT of drugs when he was younger. That would explain his inablility to reason. That said, he should quit acting like a battered housewife and actually educate himself on issues before speaking out.

  24. says

    first he fails to be able to sing, then fails to use any rationality whatsoever…

    …why is the media still paying attention to his rants anyways?…to shame homosexuals? (“look at what these crazy fags are saying!!”)

  25. busytimmy says

    Brandon, STFU. Separate but (not) equal may not look the same, but the spirit that srives to deprive another person of their civil and human rights is the same, whether or not we’re talking about salves, gays, women, jews etc. You don’t think that the reasoning behind the fear of little black boys sitting next to little white girls in school is the same as the fear of gay marriage? or equality in general. Yes, gays now in most places do not have to sit in the back of the bus, but in too many places they must remain in the closet, which again is the same in spirit if not form. I think you need to broaden you mind and educate yourself.

  26. noteasilyoffended says

    Hey, Miss Bitch (Elton),

    It is not about whether you and your significant other want to marry or have a civil ceremony. It is about the right of each man or woman to CHOOSE what will work for them, marriage vs. civil union. Just how self-centered are you? OK, so you don’t want to marry. Mazal tov! It’s about everyone and not just you. Gosh, such a broad thinker, so accepting, so forward-thinking. What a jerk. But, didn’t we know that already?

  27. Rafael says

    To me Elton is like the Bush of the gay community, completely out of touch as he undermines our civil rights.

  28. says

    F**K Elton.

    This is the same man who appeared with Eminem at The Grammy’s. He’s a bloated, asshole. Let’s call a spade a spade.

    And before there’s a hundred posts detailing his extensive AIDS work, I’m not discounting that. On that front he’s been a beacon in terms of civil rights…not so much.

  29. RWS says

    How do you say Uncle Tom in gay? Elton John, e.g. “What an old Elton John he is!” Use it whenever you hear these old self-loathing queers just dandy with their second-class status.

  30. tjc says

    Lars — FYI, in Holland they don’t have “gay marriage.” They have marriage. And gay couples as well as straight couples can partake.

    As people keep saying, terminology matters. We’re fighting for MARRIAGE EQUALITY, not gay marriage.

    My husband and I aren’t gay married, we’re married. People came to our wedding, not our gay wedding.

  31. JeffRob says

    Brandon- excellent post, and I agree completely.

    It is possible for us to have full equality of marital benefits without the ability to be legally “married”. And chances are, that’s where we’re headed. And I’ll give you:

    It’s not enough
    It’s not satisfactory
    It’s not okay, and
    it’s not *really* equality until we can walk into First Baptist Church of Anywhere, USA, and ask the pastor to marry us, and get no hesitation or resistance or discrimination whatsoever. That’ll be the day.

    HOWEVER, to equate our legal inability to use the word “married” with America’s 20th century racial segregation is downright absurd. “Separate but equal” was then, of course, a perverse misnomer. Nothing was even close to equal.

    If I can have everything but the name “Married” with my man, I hardly feel victimized. Is it based on ignorance I’ll fight my entire life? Absolutely. Is it cruel and demeaning discrimination? Hardly.

  32. Brandon says

    BUSYTIMMY: did you read and THINK about my post. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to throw insults than to address the substance of posts. I am saying that I don’t care what we call things as long as the rights are the same. I am also saying that despite King’s public declarations, it wasn’t really about little black boys holding the hands of white girls. That was calculated window dressing. It is why King et. al. started with kids because it was less threatening. (If you read anything about the civil rights movement, you’ll learn that.) My ultimate point is that gay people (and I AM gay) have to be pragmatic in getting rights. Far too many people are using the words separate but equal, without understanding what they TRULY meant. I am hoping that gay people are open to a variety of strategies in getting rights for gay couples. If that’s by calling it civil unions, let’s do it. I was having a conversation with a guy the other day who said civil unions are separate but equal as if that was a trump card in our discussion. When I asked him why you couldn’t draft a statute saying that civil unions have the same rights as “marriages” he didn’t have a response. He hadn’t THOUGHT about that. He just used the terms without thinking about them. So, my point isn’t to suggest that the spirit of wrongfulness isn’t the same. It is to make sure that we put all the options on the table and learn from the civil rights movement to advance gay rights. Hilariously, the Freedom to Marry gays KNOW this. While I disagree with them, they use the phrase SEPARATE AND UNEQUAL to describe the civil union vs. marriage debate because if civil unions were equal to marriage, they’d have no argument that gays need to have marriage.

  33. Leo Schuman says

    The big problem is that the minute you say “gay marriage”, all a lot of folks – who otherwise totally support LGBT equality – can see in their mind is a dude in a dress, and they stop listening right there because they think you’re making fun of their daughter.

    There is a huge difference between equal rights, which can be legislated, and social acceptance, which cannot.

    Step 1: Pass a Federal Civil Union law, open to same or opposite sex partners, with fully equal rights to “marriage”.

    Step 2: Show respect for marriage as the religious ritual historically performed for opposite sex couples that it is, by removing the term from all public laws.

    Civil Unions for All.

  34. excy says

    OK…Sir Elton chose a civil union. He could have chosen a marriage as his husband/partner is canadian. I have no idea why they went this route…but that was their choice.
    Before we start dumping on Elton…we should all take a deep breath and remember what he has done for people with HIV/AIDS. His Elton John AIDS Foundation has raised millions to provide funding for educational programs targeted at HIV/AIDS prevention and/or the elimination of prejudice and discrimination against HIV/AIDS-affected individuals, and for programs that provide services to people living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS.
    That being said, I am all for equality and same-sex marriage. The Civil Marriage Act became law in Canada on July 20, 2005. The sky has not fallen and support for same-sex marriage continues to rise.
    Keep up the good work, it is heartening to hear of the support for equality in certain states. It is a matter of time.

  35. Allan says

    Oh, yeah, and Elton also thought we Americans should elect Hillary Clinton as our President.

    Hahahahahahahahahaha…

    Remind me again why we should give a fuck what Sir Elton thinks is best for America?

  36. the queen says

    thank you jeffrob, i agree with you…

    and elton is right, leave marriage to the hetties, and let us have our civil unions, domestic partnerships or whatever … all this nonsense of attacking the churches is not going to help anyone’s cause believe me..

  37. RWS says

    Yassa, We’ll jess take us one of dem civil unions or one of dem do-mestic patnaships, since its jess about de same as dat der marriage y’all got, jess a diffarent name. Yassa, y’all sho is real good to us now.

    Elton John aka Uncle Tom

  38. Paul B. says

    I don’t care what it is called. I just want the FULL benefits “married” heterosexual couples legally enjoy. Leave the word “marriage” to the religious nutbags and give me my legal civil union in front of a judge or in my back yard or on a beach. Our community needs to stop whining about the word or name of the relationship and just seek to get the legal benefits.

  39. RWS says

    Shockingly, somebody who refers to himself as “the Queen” is an old Elton John. Add Paul B. to the list too.

    People, join this generation in demanding true equality, or please just go wither away at some old folks home in Key West.

  40. D says

    Sir Elton John needs to STFU already! I’m sure the Her Royal Highness doesn’t even pay taxes in this country. Go back to England, you f’en Sod!

  41. rws says

    Shockingly, somebody who refers to himself as “the Queen” is an old Elton John. Add Paul B. to the list as well.

    People, join this generation in demanding true equality, or go wither away at some old folks home in Key West.

  42. Hal says

    “Show respect for marriage as the religious ritual historically performed for opposite sex couples that it is, by removing the term from all public laws.”

    WTF?

    The Constitutional Principle: Separation of Church and State.

    Atheists marry too.

    CIVIL MARRIAGE IS A CIVIL RIGHT.

  43. Vincent says

    Brandon, the problem with your thinking is that legal marriage and civil unions are not EQUAL (as you would say). Why should gays settle for anything less than marriage and all the legal rights and societal privileges it confers. That’s the inspiration I’m taking from the African-American struggle for civil rights.

  44. says

    I agree up to a point with Brandon: if we really had ALL the rights, including federal rights and portability, I could care less about the terminology. I could live with that. But we’re very far from it.

    Currently people think CUs are bad because they are so unequal in practice. Within the state of VT CUs are defined as _exactly_ the same as marriage except for the terminology. (We also don’t get divorced — that too is a sacred heterosexual term.) If we had that at the Federal level and people really treated it equally, I could wait on the word marriage: the rights are more important to me than the word.

    Elton’s “civil partnership” is at the national level also equivalent to marriage, as far as I know. Within the European Union, some countries have marriages, but those marriages are in some ways less than straight marriages since they don’t allow adoption or second-parent adoption — which we had even without marriage in Vermont. Some of those marriages aren’t portable across borders (a Belgian marriage to a French citizen won’t get you French citizenship, I think — at least there are some quirks like that).

    That said… when people say “separate but equal” in reference to CUs or DPs, they mean “separate category” or “separate term,” so it’s obviously different from “separate schools” or “separate accommodations” which is also about physical separation. The principle, however, is the same. I’ve talked about the Baker decision in 2000 being our Plessy v Ferguson rather than our Brown v Board of E, because it created a category and claimed equality. And now the CA Supreme Court has established that there is no justification for a separate category except to establish prejudice and second-class citizenship.

  45. Pete says

    What people don’t understand is that without the push for “marriage” our enemies would not even be willing to discuss civil unions.

    Civil unions is only on the table as a concession with the aim of preventing us from securing equal marriage.

    Today, even the LDS church is saying they would support civil unions.

    That’s where Elton is so wrong and where he fundamentally fails to understand basic strategy.

    Had we initially pushed for only civil unions, we never would achieved them.

  46. TooBoot says

    Having legalized marriage at the state level in this country is not equal. Having civil partnerships in the UK might be the same as marriage but it isn’t over here. Semantics are not what we are fighting for, Elton. If you’re going to have an opinion about something over here, where you have profitted quite a bit, you ought to do your fucking homework.

  47. will says

    He’s just totally turned me off. Any respect that was there is gone.

    LET’S HAVE A PEACEFUL PROTEST/VIGIL TONIGHT IN NYC!!!!!!!

  48. Jeffrey says

    Hey Brandon: So if everything else was equal for whites and blacks you would be ok with a drinking fountain (same brand, same height, same water pressure) that says “BLACKS” next to the one that says “WHITES ONLY”? How do you feel going up and taking a drink at that water fountain? How do your kids or little brothers and sisters feel about it?
    You fine with that?

    Well that is what you are suggesting. Window for “STRAIGHT MARRIAGE ONLY” with the “FAG CIVIL UNIONS” window next to it.

    HELL NO.

  49. Zeke says

    Funny that he didn’t have such a problem with marriage when he lied and faked his way into a sham marriage.

    He clearly doesn’t have a full understanding of the history of “separate but equal” in THIS country and he is unfortunately speaking out in ignorance.

    For just once in his life I wish he would take the opportunity to keep his mouth shut.

  50. Sargon Bighorn says

    Civil Partnerships in England are not the same as Civil Marriage in England. Elton John has settled for second class in his own country; more power to him. I for one will not settle for second class in mine.

  51. Zeke says

    And one more thing.

    If Civil Partnerships are the same as marriage in England then why did the Parliament fight so damned hard to call it something else.

    If the people of England see them as being equal and the same then why go to all the trouble to set up a different institution with a different name?

    No one REALLY thinks they are the same. It was a compromise that spineless, lazy gays and lesbians were willing to settle for. Rather than spending energy fighting for first class rights, status and recognition they spend their energy trying to convince themselves (and others) that second best is the same as first class. Then they have the audacity to look down their noses at Americans who are fighting for a seat at the first class table.

  52. says

    The only reason to have separate but equal is to demonstrate that one group is superior to another. There is no need to differentiate between two things that are exactly the same and completely equal. And, on a practical level, even CUs that give equal benefits at the state level are not close to being equivalent at a federal level.

    I could even live with separate but equal if full-benefit CUs were available to every gay person in the US, or if “marriage” became a purely symbolic religious term and the state was only in the business of granting CUs. But civil marriage (tho only kind we’re fighting for) is not too much to ask. It’s not a big deal in Canada, and religious people need to recognize that marriage is continually evolving and not theirs to own.

  53. Zeke says

    BRANDON, you are bending over backwards so hard to make your point that you can’t even see the massive holes in your argument.

    It doesn’t matter whether gay people argue that “separate and UNEQUAL” is unacceptable or “separate but EQUAL” is unacceptable. You have repeated, a couple of times at least, that “separate but equal” is fine as long as it’s truly equal. You claim to be such an expert on the civil rights movement but you seem completely unaware that the SUPREME COURT ruled that “separate but equal” CIVIL INSTITUTIONS, no matter how equal. are not CONSTITUTIONAL.

    Forget the segregated schools analogy, it’s less relevant to this discussion. Look more to the analogy of separate water fountains for the races. They are unconstitutional EVEN if they are identical and provide the EXACT same quality of water. Making one race sit in the back of the bus is UNCONSTITUTIONAL even if they are riding on the same bus with the whites and going to the same destination. It’s not a matter of if the rights are equal. The constitution provides that no citizen should be legally deprived of FULL access to CIVIL institutions and accommodations, without just cause. It also provides, in the fourteenth amendment, that ALL citizens have a RIGHT to EQUAL protection.

    Please don’t try to diminish the importance of the word marriage in this civil rights struggle. It wasn’t GAY people who established marriage as a STATE granted CIVIL RIGHT. We didn’t force the state into the marriage business but since they ARE in the business and since the premium legal recognition of relationships that THEY established is called “marriage” it is absolutely appropriate that gay and lesbian Americans expect to have FULL access to this CIVIL institution. It would be entirely inappropriate for us to settle for anything less.

    It’s certainly inappropriate for those who don’t want “marriage” to stand in the way of those who do. This is ultimately a matter of general civil rights. It’s much larger than “gay marriage”.

    I don’t know about the age and background of most of the commenters here but I can say that I grew up in Mississippi and I saw segregation and “separate but equal” first hand. I started school in a segregated school. I know what it looks like up close and I can assure you that what we are seeing today looks VERY familiar to me.

  54. GregV says

    “So if everything else was equal for whites and blacks you would be ok with a drinking fountain (same brand, same height, same water pressure) that says “BLACKS” next to the one that says “WHITES ONLY”?“

    I, for one, definitely would not be okay with that, especially in regards to a law that would require the government of all citizens to install such fountains.
    I wonder, Brandon, if you would accept being allowed only to “cast a ballot“ white white men “vote.“
    There are two problems with differentiating the terminology in this way (with voting or marriage or any law}.
    1} There is no practical reason for it other than to give a symbolic slap in the face to those considered unworthy of “the real deal.“ Government should NEVEr differentiate between citizens in such a way, since symbolic discrimination encourages a society of endemic discrimination throughout.
    2} Separate but equal is never truly “equal“ or it would not be separate. We do not need laws rewritten for our marriages any more than blacks needed parallel laws written for their “separate“ vote casting rights. As long as the laws are separated by different wording, those affected will always have to wrangle in court and in society over every issue.
    For examkle, what if (white} voters could go to the local polling station, but black “ballot casters“ had to drive to the state capital. Such “details“ in wording would make it impossible for millions of blacks to vote with the ease that their white neighbors would have doing the same thing.
    Likewise, if “civil union licenses“ or “domestic partnership registries“ are to exist, then they should not differentiate on sex or race and neither should marriage licenses. We all know there will be different hurdles to go through as long as we are not dealt with under the same laws using the same words that cover every other citizen.

  55. GregV says

    Jeffrob, We are talking about laws set by a government that serves all citizens. It`s none of the government`s business what kinds of ceremonies the First Baptist Church in Anywhere USA decides to do. It`s also none of the government`s business what color of man Mary Sue in Marietta, Georgia isn`t attracted to and doesn`t want to marry. And it isn`t the business of the law whether John and Martha in Peoria decide that Martha will cook the dinner and John will wash the dishes.
    Individuals and churches can lead their lives and their services and their ceremonies as they choose. But the government must treat all as equals under the law if it is to fulfill the promise of fair treatment and justice for all legitimate connection to government.

    The Prop 8 ads saying that “churches will have to do the ceremonies or lose their tax exempt status were outright lies. No church has ever has to any kind of ceremony for anyone. It would be like saying “if the government legalizes interracial marriages then all white women wilol be required to marry black men or else pay extra taxes.“
    What we require is that the GOVERNMENT treat all citizens as equals without discrimination on the basis of race or sex. That is LEGAL equality.

  56. Alex says

    It is sort of division and attacking one another that hinders the entire gay community from moving forward. I think it’s clear that Elton is saying that it’s the rights that matter above semantics. Why he’s not entitled to that opinion is beyond me. I don’t think he was suggesting that when civil unions are not equal they should be accepted.

    Zeke- I’m from the UK and I don’t think that the gay community were spineless in accepting civil partnerships. It was clear that there was a choice between having equal rights without the word marriage (a religious term in my mind) or no rights at all. Even to get to this stage took a lot of work, especially considering the religious views of some in government and parliament. Hopefully marriage will come later, and I am sure it will move in that direction, but at least for now people no longer get fucked over when their partner dies or leaves them. And it’s worth pointing out that it’s a hell of a lot more than has been passed in most states in the US which have gone in the opposite direction and banned gay marriage. If you prefer fighting your worthy fight without compromise, even for the short term, while gay couples are left without legal protection then you’re welcome to it.

  57. Brandon says

    To the folks who responded to my post, thanks for looking at it. Although, I have to wonder again if people are really reading what I wrote or reading into what I wrote. I never endorsed segregation. I never said separate but equal was ok. I said that the primary problem that black people had at the time was that separate was not equal. My point is that the civil rights movement was about practical matters. I never said that gay people are not entitled to “marriage.” Of course gay people are entitled to marriage. However, I did say “I am hoping that gay people are open to a variety of strategies in getting rights for gay couples.” As I said before, I want to see us put all options on the table. I don’t like knee jerk reactions to alternate suggestions when so much is at stake. If we cannot get full marriage now, maybe just maybe, we take something “less” now understanding that we continue to press on later.

    Ask a person whose partner is in the hospital if he’d want a civil union if it meant he had visitation rights and couldn’t be barred from seeing his partner. Would he take it? (This happened to a friend of mine.)

    Last, but not least, taking my comments to endorse separate water fountains or segregated voting– come on.

  58. GregV says

    Thank you for the clarification, Brandon, and I do somewhat agree. I would say it is analagous to saying that if blacks has access to a filthy, contaminated water fountain at city hall and whites had a clean one, and all we could get for now is two clean fountains designated “white“ and “black,“ then we take what we can get but never suggest that it is really appropriate to separate the fountains in the first place.

  59. Zeke says

    BRANDON, I used to be a strong believer in an incremental, step by step approadh but the more I’ve been involved in this struggle the more I realize that if you ask for half of a right, you will get a tenth of a right. I’ve also seen that too many people, when they win a second class status become comfortable and complacent in their “other” status. This is what I have seen with my gay British friends. They are very defensive when people point out that civil partnerships are not equal to marriage in the eyes of anybody. They spend a lot of time and energy trying to convince themselves and others that CP’s are just like marriage but they ignore the evidence to the contrary and become angry and defensive when anyone else does. I haven’t found many English gay couples who see it as just another step toward full equality. That’s what I have a problem with.

    I’m still open to taking practical, incremental steps to full equality as long as that movement is active and doesn’t get bogged down in the mire of complacency and satisfaction with second best.

    I’m all for separating civil marriage from religious marriage but not unless it applies to ALL couples and let’s face it, that’s not gonna happen. The straight people are never going to give up their priviledge. That’s what makes it a priviledge because they won’t give it up and the won’t share it with those who don’t have it. You will be jilting at windmills going that route,

  60. jason says

    What our dear Ellie forgets is that gay marriage in California was already a civil arrangement, and not a religious one. It was gay civil marriage, the equivalent to heterosexual civil marriage. Ellie dear should understand this before spouting off.

    The religious fundamentalists object to us having ANY arrangement whatsoever, whether civil or religious, whether it goes by the expression civil union or marriage.

  61. sharksfansd says

    I guess Elton has been enjoying too much of the $$$ he has been receiving from his anti-equality straight patrons at his Vegas show (I know as I went this summer). I will give Elton about 48 hours to realize what he said was just idiotic.

  62. Jeffrey says

    “Last, but not least, taking my comments to endorse separate water fountains or segregated voting– come on.”

    Brandon, we didn’t endorse these things.
    Quite the contrary. But you seemed to. I just asked if you would be ok with that?
    You repeated again:
    “the primary problem that black people had at the time was that separate was not equal”
    So I was just posing the question in a tangible way. If everything was truly equal would separate be ok? I used the drinking fountain issue to make a point to you and to anyone on here who thinks that “separate but equal” is truly equal.
    It most certainly is not. The Supreme Court of California did not think so.
    The Supreme Court of the United States didn’t think so. And I believe the AA community agreed with the courts. So do most of us on here.
    So tell us how you think it feels to walk up to that window (the one next to the STRAIGHT Marriage License window) to get your GAY civil union certificate?
    Do you understand yet?
    Well, let me tell you then. I had a Domestic Partnership license or certificate or diploma or whatever the hell it was. We had to get it notarized at the Mailboxes Etc. store down the street. That was a special day.
    Then our California Supreme Court Justices said it wasn’t good enough and they said I could get married just like everybody else. I did get married on June 27th. It felt like a completely different thing. I truly felt ‘equal’ for once. My husband said the same thing. Even though we thought we were tough enough to not care whether we had the government’s “approval” or not. It turns out we didn’t know what it FELT like to be recognized as truly equal citizens under the law. Now we do. And I, for one, am not going back.

  63. Paul says

    I was disappointed by the approval of Proposition 8 and I’m no fan of Elton John whose comments will be used as ammunition by the Christian Right. However, in fairness, I can see what he might be trying to say.
    Civil Partnerships in the U.K. ARE exactly the same as marriage — there are absolutely no differences when it comes to rights. I know because I’m in one with my American partner.
    Being a humanist, I really am not concerned about the “marriage” label but I understand there are gays and lesbians who are Christians and who care deeply about how their union is termed.
    Tony Blair (a Christian by the way) was actually very clever because he gave us all the rights but didn’t inflame public opinion with the term “marriage.” In fact civil partnerships received overwhelming public support when they were introduced almost three years ago. Already people in the UK talk about gay couples being “married” and I have no doubt that in time the term “marriage” will legally replace that of “civil partnership.”
    It appears that the civil unions available in some US states are not EQUAL and that is the main problem.
    I think if Barack Obama can do the same as Tony Blair and provide FEDERALLY-RECOGNISED civil unions with ALL the same rights of marriage then the main battle is over. I would rather get those rights sooner than wait for years because Republicans will cling to the word “marriage” as a wedge issue (Proposition 8 shows it’s an issue they can still rely on). The term “marriage” will come eventually – but we don’t have the time to wait for the years or decades for that to happen. The rights are what’s important.

  64. gleeindc says

    If civil partnerships are so good, would Elton approve making the union available to all couples and leave marriage to religious institutions, that could then enforce whatever tenets they regard as holy on their members (and their members only)?

  65. says

    Maybe we can change the states used in the following song (Thank you, Nina!):

    The name of this tune is Mississippi Goddam
    And I mean every word of it

    Alabama’s gotten me so upset
    Tennessee made me lose my rest
    And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

    Alabama’s gotten me so upset
    Tennessee made me lose my rest
    And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

    Can’t you see it
    Can’t you feel it
    It’s all in the air
    I can’t stand the pressure much longer
    Somebody say a prayer

    Alabama’s gotten me so upset
    Tennessee made me lose my rest
    And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

    This is a show tune
    But the show hasn’t been written for it, yet

    Hound dogs on my trail
    School children sitting in jail
    Black cat cross my path
    I think every day’s gonna be my last

    Lord have mercy on this land of mine
    We all gonna get it in due time
    I don’t belong here
    I don’t belong there
    I’ve even stopped believing in prayer

    Don’t tell me
    I tell you
    Me and my people just about due
    I’ve been there so I know
    They keep on saying “Go slow!”

    But that’s just the trouble
    “do it slow”
    Washing the windows
    “do it slow”
    Picking the cotton
    “do it slow”
    You’re just plain rotten
    “do it slow”
    You’re too damn lazy
    “do it slow”
    The thinking’s crazy
    “do it slow”
    Where am I going
    What am I doing
    I don’t know
    I don’t know

    Just try to do your very best
    Stand up be counted with all the rest
    For everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

    I made you thought I was kiddin’ didn’t we

    Picket lines
    School boycotts
    They try to say it’s a communist plot
    All I want is equality
    for my sister my brother my people and me

    Yes you lied to me all these years
    You told me to wash and clean my ears
    And talk real fine just like a lady
    And you’d stop calling me Sister Sadie

    Oh but this whole country is full of lies
    You’re all gonna die and die like flies
    I don’t trust you any more
    You keep on saying “Go slow!”
    “Go slow!”

    But that’s just the trouble
    “do it slow”
    Desegregation
    “do it slow”
    Mass participation
    “do it slow”
    Reunification
    “do it slow”
    Do things gradually
    “do it slow”
    But bring more tragedy
    “do it slow”
    Why don’t you see it
    Why don’t you feel it
    I don’t know
    I don’t know

    You don’t have to live next to me
    Just give me my equality
    Everybody knows about Mississippi
    Everybody knows about Alabama
    Everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

    That’s it for now! see ya’ later

  66. Brandon says

    Jeffery, I’m am terribly sorry about what happened to you. I cannot personally imagine precisely how it feels to have your rights taken away as happened with Prop 8. Do I understand, to the extent I can, how you feel? Yes.

    But I DONATED to No on Prop 8. My aunt, my only relative in California, is one of those black people that voted AGAINST Prop 8.

    I don’t blame you for not wanting to go back, but now I do want to address the hypothetical that some, including you, have posed about separate but equal drinking fountains. Do I want a separate but equal drinking fountain: no. If I were dying of thirst or didn’t have any other source of water, would I drink at a separate but equal drinking fountain: maybe. As I see it, that’s the more accurate analogy because if marriage equals water, gay people have NO water. As liberal as my state is, we don’t even have civil unions. We have NO water at all.

    Jeffrey, I am not your enemy, nor do I want to be. All I want, even in this incredibly emotional time, is that we simply ask whether SOME water MAY be better than NO water at all. I know where you come out and I RESPECT that. As a single guy I can go without drinking. I am only asking if everyone wants or should go thirsty.

  67. TheNiebur says

    Who cares what he says anymore? Usually he is WAY off, when he opens his mouth to speak. Please stick to singing only, Elton. So rarely he has anything good to say about something or someone. Old tired hag that he is.

  68. Kyle says

    Interesting that Elton says this, considering he is in this ‘civil partnership’ with a CANADIAN where MARRIAGE.. not civil partnerships are LEGAL in every sense of the word with ALL the benefits of hetro marriage…. give your head a shake Elton..

  69. Derrick from Philly says

    BRANDON,

    I wish I could articulate any point of view on any topic as well as you. You’ve helped me to figure out how I feel on this issue. The word “marriage” will be a problem in every state in this union outside of New England–if it’s put up for referedum or popular vote. No minority’s FULL civil rights would win a state wide vote in most of these United States.

    This battle belongs in the courts–hopefully, federal courts– eventually populated by Obama appointments.

    It is possible to respect the passion of those who demand gay marriage rights using the word “marriage” (and FULL marriage rights) without some of us having that same passion for using that word.

    Doesn’t the word have religious origins?

  70. Joe says

    The comments by Towleroad readers here make the gay community look like a bunch of reactionary, shallow, judgmental, crabby, intolerant folks who confuse protesting with having a hissy fit and throwing a tantrum. Get a grip! I wouldn’t want us to get married either.

  71. says

    “It appears that the civil unions available in some US states are not EQUAL and that is the main problem.”

    There seems to be ongoing confusion about this, because it is confusing, thanks to our government. (In Canada it is completely simple–equal civil marriage rights for all.) In VT, we currently have CUs, which are equal in all but name (separate but equal) within the state. Practically speaking, a VT CU is not different from a MA marriage because NEITHER is equal at the federal level.

    As for the word “marriage,” clearly people associate it with religion, but religions do not own marriage. Straight people don’t have to pass a religion test to get married, and they don’t have to get married in the church. The church doesn’t grant marriage benefits, the state does. Marriage is a civil institution that people choose to tie to religion. An argument can be made that marriage should be handed over to religion, but, legally, that’s not how it works.

    I would be willing to compromise with federally recognized CUs, just as I was willing to compromise with CUs in VT, with the understanding that the issue was not settled. In VT, we are moving towards “full marriage,” but that won’t change anything at the federal level.

    But, once again, if CUs and marriage are truly equal, there is no need to distinguish between them, unless you believe that we should be separate or that religion and straight people (even non-religious ones) have an exclusive right to the word. I still look to Canada as the best model.

  72. Alex says

    Read the report that the NJ government produced on civil unions – people are not being treated equally across the board: employer benefits, health care, etc.

    Despite a carefully worded law, equality is not the result:
    http://www.gardenstateequality.org/civilunionsdontwork/1stInterimReportCURC.pdf

    This report is from a government commision, not a gay organization.

    The Bar Assn of NJ wrote:

    We believe the civil union law created a burdensome and flawed
    statutory scheme that fails to afford same-sex couples the same
    rights and remedies provided to heterosexual married couples as
    required … by the New Jersey Supreme Court and its landmark
    Lewis v. Harris decision.
    From the Bar’s perspective, civil unions are a failed experiment.
    They have shown to perpetuate unacceptable second-class legal
    status. Members of the Bar Association tell me more stories of the
    countless additional hours of work that must go into representing
    gays, lesbians, bisexual clients and their families.12

  73. Jeffrey says

    Ok, Brandon, thanks for trying to walk in my shoes a little bit. And thanks for donating and thanks to your Aunt for the vote. We all know that not every Black voter was against us.
    But I have to address the foolishness on here.
    We are not fighting for the word “Marriage”.
    We are fighting for EQUALITY.
    There’s a difference.
    As others have pointed out, it is only because we have fought for full Equality (marriage) that the other side has given us anything at all (civil unions, etc).
    If we ask for Civil Unions they will give us, oh, visitation rights. If we ask for visitation rights they will give us, ummm, the right to drink with each other in our own bars. You see where this is going?
    See, the thing is it is not just about getting married. It is about the whole ball of wax.
    I know that I was born gay and it was not a choice. I think most thoughtful people agree.
    Therefore, as a member of a minority group that has been discriminated against, I know that I should have the same rights as women and people of color. That’s all we are asking for.
    No compromise. Just fairness.
    I will keep fighting to be treated equally under the law because I am not inferior to any one else.
    What many of you seem to forget is that this ballot initiative was not LGBT people pushing too hard for the right to use the word “marriage” when we could have gotten the term “civil unions” so now we have nothing.
    We had “Domestic Partnerships” with almost all of the statewide rights of marriage.
    The California Supreme Court said that wasn’t good enough. They said we deserve equality. Then the people voted to make us inferior again.
    To revisit this admittedly tired drinking fountain analogy:
    We had separate drinking fountains. The law said “not fair”. We all got to drink at one fountain. Then just over half the people said “not so fast” and they put up that second drinking fountain again.
    Can you imagine if that had happened to Blacks in the 60’s?? Would they have said, “oh, ok, we should be thankful they let us drink any water at all”???

    HELL NO

    They can’t make me inferior with a popular vote. That sets one of the most dangerous precedents ever to happen in this country. If that can happen, then laws can be passed to make any minority group that is too small to defend itself do anything at the whim of the majority. Let’s vote to prevent Armenians from owning property. Let’s allow waterboarding of Latino Gang Members. Heck, let’s revisit the rights of African Americans, maybe we gave them too much…. Think it can’t happen?? Look to Germany in the 30’s.
    We have to believe that we deserve FULL equal rights and fight for that with all our might. No, it doesn’t happen all at once. It does come in increments. But don’t criticize us for fighting to reach the finish line instead of just halfway around the track.

  74. Derrick from Philly says

    Thanks, ALEX, but what’s to stop a anti-gay employer from discriminating against a gay couple even if they are “married” in New Jersey? Would they still find a way to say that man to man marriage is different than a man to woman marriage. There must be ways to make civil unions hold the same legal weight as marriage. I can’t believe these anti-gay employers enjoy spending a lot of money in legal fees resulting from lawsuits brought by same sex (civil union) couples.

  75. DT says

    This same guy was addicted to shopping, drugs and was closeted the majority of his life. Certainly not one of my role models. Why do we even listen to him, he wrote “Candle in the Wind” reworking an old song to make money out of someone elses death. Winner.

  76. matthew says

    I know I’m late in posting about this, but here is my opinion. This is a direct quote from elton

    “You get the same equal rights that we do when we have a civil partnership. Heterosexual people get married. We can have civil partnerships.”

    That is simply not true in the United States. Civil partnerships do not have the same benefits in the United States currently (unless that changes under future president Barack Obama). In recent years, there was controversy in New Jersey (a potential battle ground for gay marriage next year) and UPS (I believe it was UPS), where they stated they cannot give benefits to same-sex partners because a civil union in that state is not technically a marriage. This particular case was corrected, but that does not solve the problem with civil partnerships. There are other examples of which I cannot think of right now but that one example is one reason why civil unions are not equal to marriage and do not offer the same benefits. Unless president elect Barack Obama closes that gap with civil unions and offers full benefits to same sex couples as marriage does (currently the federal government does not recognize same sex couples at all,) civil unions will never be equal to marriage and never will offer the same benefits to same sex couples. Perhaps you should do your homework befor opening up your big mouth and spreading inacurate information.

    I feel bad about saying this because I have been a fan of his for many years, but the more I see things like this, the more I realize that he never was an ally of the gay, Lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and he never will be.

  77. Derrrick from Philly says

    JEFFREY,

    so you’re saying that all laws and statutes that speak of “marriage or married” cannot be made to apply to civil union? If that’s the case then I can see why the designation of being “legally married” is so important. But if that IS the case– I can only see this issue being resolved toward gay people’s favor in just a few states by popular vote, and just a few state legislatures. It will be the courts–eventually the US Supreme Court.

  78. Zeke says

    I’m affraid that some of you don’t even know what the words “exactly” and “100%”. How many times in this thread alone have I read that Civil Unions are EXACTLY the same thing a marriage EXCEPT…?

    Do you realize that the moment you add the word “except” or “but” to the end of a sentence with the superlative “exactly” or “100%” you have negated your point and formed an oxymoron?

    Exactly is exact in EVERY way. It can not be EXACTLY the same but called something different. No too things can be 100% the same EXCEPT for the name.

    As I said before Civil Partnerships are NOT exactly the same as marriage. If the two were exactly the same they would carry the same name.

    Oh, and by the way, try taking your “exactly the same as marriage” on a vacation WITHIN THE EU to say Greece or Latvia or Italy or Poland and see if your Civil Partnership is exactly the same as marriage.

    PLEASE stop putting so goddamn much effort into trying to convince us that a mule is a horse. I’m just not buying it. If you’re happy with a mule then peace to you and I wish you well but please don’t stand in the way of us who want a real horse when we paid for a real horse.

  79. says

    The fact that his civil unioned partner is Canadian makes him an even bigger douchebag since he had the OPTION to get married. He made a CHOICE not to get married and that’s him and his CUP’s right to do so but to say that others shouldn’t fight for their own right to CHOOSE is pathetic and makes him look like a fool. Sorry, Elton. Stick to music.

  80. Sretav says

    It says a lot that Elton John’s Civil Partner, David Furnish, is Canadian and yet he and Elton chose to have a Civil Partnership ceremony in England instead of actually getting fully 100% married in Canada which was certainly a viable option. I’m Canadian, I’m gay and I recently married my husband, with our new baby girl and all of our friends and family looking on. In Canada we have fully recognized gay marriage and full equal rights. Until the U.S. has the same (and England and all other countries do as well) keep fighting and don’t listen to Elton John who settled for second class citizen instead of first class equality.

  81. sleepdawg says

    And while we’re telling people what they should and should not do, rich people SHOULD give away all their money. There.

    Elton John may be a lot of things, but spokesperson for all gays and lesbians he is not.

  82. sleepdawg says

    And while we’re telling people what they should and should not do, rich people SHOULD give away all their money. There.

    Elton John may be a lot of things, but spokesperson for all gays and lesbians he is not.

  83. **** says

    I agree 100% with Elton John. Marriage was “instituted” by god. This is the god that wants you dead (no matter the religion). Wanting to marry is just a sad way for gays to try to “normalize” their homosexuality. Aping straight people won’t change the fact that you’re different. Just except it.

  84. Crymeariver says

    Good for Elton, for speaking his mind, even though it doesn’t seem popular. Now if we, the younger generation, could just get off our dusty asses and get a grip! Ok, tare away with your insults, I’m sure I’ll never read ’em. :)