Thursday, November 13, 2008

Elton John talks sense-smack on gay marriage

I've always had a weakness for some of Elton John's songs. "Sad Songs (They Say So Much)" and "Rocket Man," for instance. I never really cared for "Candle in the Wind," since I've been a Christopher Hitchens-level atheist in the Cult of Diana, but there you go.

And it's never been a really big secret that Elton John is gay.

I try and search my heart for hatred or bigotry, and (unsurprisingly, perhaps) seldom do I find it. I'm opposed to gay marriage, but am a wishy-washy supporter of civil unions, or civil partnerships. Mostly, this comes down to a mixture of the sacred and the profane, for me. The sacred is the church, and the profane is the state.

I like to use that phrase, "mixture of the sacred and the profane," about a LOT of things, from blues music to sex, but that's really a sidebar, and only tangentially relevant to Elton John and gay marriage.

I don't mind if gay people enter into committed relationships with each other; rather, I think that's a good thing. Caring and loving? Stable relationships? In my mind, that gets chalked up in the "win" column.

But it doesn't quite seem like marriage to me. Maybe that's my heart's inner hatred and bigotry, although I don't think so, but I could be wrong.

Amid all the hubbub about gay marriage, especially in light of California's Proposition 8, along comes Elton John and talks some sense-smack about "gay marriage." In, of all places, USA Today!

The article, by Donna Freydkin, quotes Sir John:

In December 2005, John and Furnish tied the knot in a civil partnership ceremony in Windsor, England. But, clarified the singer, "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," John says. "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."

As I have said before, I am a cautious progressive. I am reluctant to throw over several thousand years of history and tradition based on popular fads. Once overthrown, I find that history and tradition have a hard time coming back, if we turn out to have made an error in judgment.

Maybe I am a bigot and a hater---I don't think so.

And I have never held more respect for Elton John than I do right now.

Note: Edited on 22 November 2008 to add a "close parens" after "sad songs (they say so much". My bust, my bad, my edit. Hey, I'm not going to redact this to cover up embarrassing boo-boos!

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