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Elton John calls
for international gay rights

Elton John calls
for international gay rights

Elton John said forming a civil partnership with longtime lover David Furnish in England this week will be "the happiest day of my life." But, the pop star added he will feel sorry for the many gay couples who live in countries that prohibit such unions.

"It has been a long struggle for equal rights to gay people in Britain, but now, in the 21st century, we have real civil rights, tolerance, and final acceptance in our lives," John wrote in The Observer, a Sunday newspaper. "Next Wednesday, on the happiest day of my life, when I celebrate a civil partnership with David, I will be thinking, however, about those less fortunate than we are. In many countries, having a same-sex partner is still outlawed."

Quoting Amnesty International, John said an estimated 80 countries still have laws that criminalize adult same-sex relations. He also cited specific cases of abuse in countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Jamaica, Uganda, Iraq, and Poland. "Throughout history, gay people such as myself and David have often been made scapegoats by those who fear that we are a threat to the status quo," John said.

More than 600 same-sex couples plan to form civil partnerships in England and Wales on Wednesday, the first day that such ceremonies become possible; in the rest of the United Kingdom civil unions will be performed beginning today in Northern Ireland and Tuesday in Scotland. In order to get the law passed that allows such unions, the British government avoided potential opposition by avoiding the term marriage. (AP)

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