Elton John Benefit Raises $3 Million for Prop 8 Foes

Adam Lambert and Republican presidential hopeful and activist Fred Karger, in a photo he tweeted from the event.

Elton John's concert last night, in which he played 16 songs for more than 90 minutes, raised $3 million for the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the group challenging Proposition 8 in federal court.

The NYT has a full report: Ej

The makeshift concert hall for Sir John was an elaborate tent, lined with curtains and backlit with soft lighting. There were about 500 assigned chairs, two video screens and a mini-camera perched on the right side of the keyboard, offering viewers high-definition proof that even at age 63, this is one versatile pianist. The screens were almost not necessary; there was no bad seats in this house.


Sir Elton did more singing than speaking, yet made clear that he recognized the political ramifications of the event and his role there. He is openly gay and, as he noted, he and his partner had a son on Christmas day. He was at turns politic and caustic in his description of politicians and church leaders who oppose gay rights.

“As a gay man, I think I have it all: I have a wonderful career, I have my health, I have a partner of 17 years, and I have a son,” he said. “But I don’t have the respect of the church or politicians who says I’m less worthy because I’m gay.”

He denounced them with an obscenity, voiced twice, drawing loud cheers from the crowd

Sir Elton was also remorseful in describing how he responded, as a younger gay man before he had gone public, to the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic, mixing criticism with the American government with personal remorse. “The American government was AWOL,” he said. “And I was AWOL.” He said the government’s response had been a disgrace. “And I was a disgrace as well.”

Elton John Plays Calif. Benefit to Back Gay Marriage [nyt]

(images via twitter)


  1. Paul R says

    Perhaps it was conveyed to him that he’s pissed off tons of LGBTs with some of his recent actions? Whatever the case, his repentance is welcome. And despite his disgraceful actions of late, he has raised a lot of money for HIV/AIDS over the years.

    Aside from the fact that 500 people paid an average of $6,000 apiece to attend this, my biggest surprise here is that the NYT printed, “there was no bad seats in this house.” It’s one thing for Elton to say, when speaking, “But I don’t have the respect of the church or politicians who says I’m less worthy.” But the NYT? Is subject-verb agreement so difficult? (And, based on the comments reported, it doesn’t seem like they were “politic”—was he actually shrewd or prudent in his descriptions?)

  2. Chris says

    How the hell can a REPUBLICAN presidential candidate possibly expect support of the republican party or even votes when the majority of the Republicans are actively negative on LGBT rights?

    Until they actually repeal DOMA and stop making us a wedge issue, a pro LGBT republican still seems like an Oxymoron to me.

  3. Jorge says

    I appreciate the good intentions, but it is ridiculous that the gay community should be raising millions of dollars to pay David Boies and Ted Olson. These men are millionaires many times over. Boies’ firm has profits per partner in excess of $3 million, with Boies, as the name partner, probably making much more – perhaps b/t 5 and 10 million annually. Obviously, they are both great lawyers and everyone appreciates their involvement, but there is no reason they could not do this pro bono, and then seek fees from CA if they win. That $3 million raised at this event should be used to prepare for the big battles coming in Maryland and Hawaii.

  4. SteveC says

    What’s the old relic up to?

    Why is he raising money for marriage equality when he himself is opposed to it.

    Elton JOhn has stated quite clearly that he supports civil partnership apartheid.

    I suspect he is doing this to try to salvage his ruined reputation among the gay community.

  5. Obama ate my baby says

    Because everyone knows that you can only have equal rights if you have a lot of money? Everyone knows that black people brought down Jim Crow segregation, not by marching and engaging in civil disobedience, by through concerts and back patting.

    Somebody’s making a lot of money off of homophobia, methinks.

  6. William M. Andrews says

    True to the maxim that no good deed shall go unpunished, you bitter queens who are criticizing Elton John for headlining a fundraiser for marriage equality, need to have you heads examined. And as for the lawyers, I’m sure that they are donating their time, but litigation is very expensive and the support staff needed to assist in the preparation of the briefs need to be paid.

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