Elton John | Gay Marriage | New Jersey | News | Proposition 8

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.

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  1. 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.

    Posted by: Paul B. | Nov 12, 2008 6:38:48 PM

  2. the bitch is back.

    Posted by: psgoodguy | Nov 12, 2008 6:42:11 PM

  3. 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.

    Posted by: RWS | Nov 12, 2008 6:42:57 PM

  4. 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!

    Posted by: D | Nov 12, 2008 6:46:00 PM

  5. 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.

    Posted by: rws | Nov 12, 2008 6:49:04 PM

  6. "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."


    The Constitutional Principle: Separation of Church and State.

    Atheists marry too.


    Posted by: Hal | Nov 12, 2008 6:56:52 PM

  7. 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.

    Posted by: Vincent | Nov 12, 2008 7:13:09 PM

  8. 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.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Nov 12, 2008 7:14:30 PM

  9. Elton John is the product of his generation.

    Posted by: Wheezy | Nov 12, 2008 7:17:04 PM

  10. 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.

    Posted by: Pete | Nov 12, 2008 7:46:39 PM

  11. 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.

    Posted by: TooBoot | Nov 12, 2008 7:56:02 PM

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


    Posted by: will | Nov 12, 2008 7:57:27 PM

  13. 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.

    Posted by: Jeffrey | Nov 12, 2008 7:58:49 PM

  14. Elton is a bitter queen. Has been for years. He has been out of it for several years. Yawn.

    Posted by: SCOTT | Nov 12, 2008 8:47:42 PM

  15. 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.

    Posted by: Zeke | Nov 12, 2008 8:50:22 PM

  16. 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.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Nov 12, 2008 8:51:41 PM

  17. 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.

    Posted by: Zeke | Nov 12, 2008 8:59:16 PM

  18. 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.

    Posted by: Ernie | Nov 12, 2008 9:01:57 PM

  19. Jeffery you made absolutely no sense.

    Leo Schuman you summed up everything I wanted to say.

    Posted by: Cajiva | Nov 12, 2008 9:04:46 PM

  20. 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.

    Posted by: Zeke | Nov 12, 2008 9:28:01 PM

  21. FUCK ELTON JOHN!!! (And I don't mean in the ass.)

    Posted by: Stenar | Nov 12, 2008 9:52:27 PM

  22. ``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.

    Posted by: GregV | Nov 12, 2008 10:01:23 PM

  23. 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.

    Posted by: GregV | Nov 12, 2008 10:22:59 PM

  24. PS Sorry about the typos and a few words that were in the wrong spot. (Old computer}

    Posted by: GregV | Nov 12, 2008 10:26:10 PM

  25. 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.

    Posted by: Alex | Nov 12, 2008 10:31:11 PM

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