Friday, November 14, 2008

Video: Elton at An Enduring Vision

See: http://www.etonline.comnews/2008/11/67594/ for the video.

Elton John, accompanied by his longtime partner, David Furnish, had some choice words about California's Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage that passed on Nov. 4.

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."

John and Furnish, and their two cocker spaniels, Marilyn and Arthur, were in town for Tuesday's annual benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

"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."

The dinner, held at Cipriani Wall Street, was hosted by CNN's Anderson Cooper and featured a performance from Gladys Knight. John's foundation gets a four-star rating, the highest available, from, and John, in his speech, called for a national AIDS policy.

What does the annual gala mean to him? "It means we get to see our friends on the East Coast who support us so much. It's a staple event for us on our calendar in America. We do the Oscar party on the West Coast, and we do this on the East Coast."

As one of the world's best known musicians Elton John can rely upon the support of a host of stars at his charity events. And this week was no exception, with soul singer Gladys Knight joining the Piano Man and his partner David Furnish for a gala evening in New York.

The multi-award winning songstress, who teamed up with Elton in 1986 for charity single That's What Friends Are For, attended 'An Enduring Vision', the city's seventh annual benefit to raise funds for the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

And the lucky guests, including Emily Mortimer and Delta Goodrem, were treated to a special duet by the two singers, which Georgia-born Gladys insisted they'd not practised together.

"He called me and said, "Look, if were going to do something, we're just going to do it. You're a pro and I'm a pro.'," she revealed.

During the event - which included a cocktail reception, a dinner and live auction - actor Tim Allen was recognised for his contribution to the charity. The Santa Clause 3 star was quick to deflect credit back to his host, however, saying: "It’s a terrific thing that he's done and I'm just doing the best I can."

"I'm so proud to be in this country. So proud to be a part of something so incredibly moving, and touching," Elton said from the stage to a packed crowd at Cipriani Wall Street. "Last week's election demonstrated to me why I fell in love with America in the first place. More importantly, it demonstrated to everybody across this planet that America is a good place now."

Citing recent reports showing significant increases in the number of new AIDS cases in America – especially among African-Americans – he went on to praise President-elect Barack Obama for including the development of a National AIDS Strategy in his vision for the country.

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