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Sir Elton John has urged religious leaders around the world to throw their support behind gay marriage because "times have changed".
The music superstar entered into a civil partnership with film producer David Furnish in his native Britain in 2005, and the couple is planning to marry next year (15) after gay marriage was officially legalised in the U.K. in March (14). Elton John has now declared religious institutions need to accept same-sex unions in order to cement equal rights for gay couples.
He tells Sky News, "The church hierarchy, the traditionalists, might be up in arms about it but times have changed. If Jesus Christ was alive today, I cannot see him, as the Christian person that he was and the great person that he was, saying this could not happen. He was all about love and compassion and forgiveness and trying to bring people together and that is what the church should be about."
The Rocket Man star also lavished praise on Catholic leader Pope Francis, calling him "wonderful" and hailing him as a forward-thinking Pontiff, adding, "He's excited me so much by his humanity... He's taken everything down to the humility of faith. He's stripped it down to the bare bones and said it's all basically about love and inclusiveness. That has to be encouraged by the Church of England as well."
Sir Elton John paid tribute to late U.S. radio and TV star Casey Kasem as he closed the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival on Sunday night (15Jun14). The Rocket Man legend brought the curtain down on the rural Tennessee music event by performing on the final night of the 2014 gathering.
The show marked the star's U.S. festival debut and he told the crowd, "This is my first ever festival in America and I know it's the best one." During his career-spanning set, he took a moment to remember Kasem, who died early on Sunday.
Elton John credited the TV and radio star with partly inspiring his music career as he often listened to Kasem's American Top 40 radio countdown in the 1970s. He said of his hero, "Travel safely, my good man," before performing hit track Don't Let The Sun Go Down on Me.
The music superstar also welcomed special guest Ben Folds to the stage for a duet of Grey Seal, before his set ended with a fireworks display. Other acts to play at the festival over the weekend (13-15Jun14) included Kanye West, Lauryn Hill, Frank Ocean, Jack White and Skrillex.
The family of the boy Sir Elton John desperately wanted to adopt from the Ukraine has urged the star to help them as violent unrest continues to rock the country. The Rocket Man hitmaker and his partner David Furnish tried to adopt little Lev Ageyev in 2009 after meeting him in an orphanage in Makeeva, but his bid was rejected, because same-sex couples are forbidden to adopt in the country.
Five years on, Lev is living in a squalid apartment with his grandmother, Yulia, after she saved him from the orphanage - and now she has called on Sir Elton to help them escape their hellish existence as trouble continues to spread across the country due to ongoing conflicts between the Ukraine and Russia.
She tells Britain's The Sun on Sunday, "I know he (Elton John) felt something for Lev. We're worried what will happen so any help he could give us would be appreciated... I can't take the boys (Lev and his brother) anywhere. We went to the zoo and they were so happy - a rare treat. Money is really tight."
Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish celebrated the superstar's 67th birthday on Friday (28Mar14) by hosting the grand opening of their new Las Vegas bar. The Rocket Man hitmaker and film producer Furnish were joined by actor Nicolas Cage, legendary producer Quincy Jones, rock matriarch Sharon Osbourne and her daughter Kelly, The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers, actress Britt Ekland and funnyman David Spade, among others for the launch of FIZZ Las Vegas.
The Champagne lounge, a collaboration between Furnish and nightlife gurus Michael Greco and Steven Kennedy, is located next to Caesars Palace's famed Colosseum theatre, where Elton is currently performing a Sin City residency.
Furnish tells USA Today, "Fizz is an extension of our personal style. Spending so much time in Las Vegas with Elton's performance schedule, we wanted a space that would reflect our personal style and become an extension of the way we entertain at home."
And he tells U.S. breakfast show Today, "Once people are inside, it's very small and intimate... We bring the lights down to make it really, really chic and warm and welcoming. It's very much an extension of the way we would do things."
Elton turned 67 on 25 March (14).
Sir Elton John and David Furnish are planning a low-key wedding ceremony at a registry office in May (14). The couple entered into a civil partnership in 2005 and they now want to tie the knot officially after same-sex marriage was legalised in England on Saturday (29Mar14).
Furnish has now opened up about their wedding plans, revealing they will shun a lavish ceremony in favour of a low-key event attended by just their two sons, Zachary, three, and 14-month-old Elijah, and their witnesses.
The film producer tells the Las Vegas Review Journal, "We do like big parties. Over eight years ago, we had 650 people on the 21st of December at our house in Windsor (England). But with the kids, everything is different. I think what we'll do is go to a registry office in England in May, and take the boys with us, and a couple of witnesses."
John also confirmed plans for a low-key wedding, telling America's Today show, "We'll do it very quietly. But we will do it and it will be a joyous occasion... For this legislation to come through is joyous, and we should celebrate it. We shouldn't just say, 'Oh, well we have a civil partnership. We're not going to bother to get married.' We will get married."
Sir Elton John and David Furnish plan to exchange vows for a second time to celebrate the legalisation of gay marriage in the U.K. Same-sex marriages became legal in the U.K. on Saturday (29Mar14) and the stars, who are already joined in a civil partnership, want to use their high-profile position to celebrate the landmark ruling.
Furnish tells Attitude magazine, "Elton and I will marry - as a high-profile couple, we feel it is our duty to do it, to make sure that everyone knows that this is something that many gay men living in this country never dreamed would happen.
"When it was announced that gay couples were able to obtain a civil partnership, Elton and I did so on the day it came into law. As something of a showman, (Elton) is aware that whatever he says and does, people will sit up and take notice - so what better way to celebrate that historic moment in time... Elton and I both think there is a massive difference between calling someone your 'partner' and calling them your 'husband'..."
They been together for more than 20 years and became one of the first same-sex couples to enter into a civil partnership in England in 2005. They have two sons, Zachary, three, and 14-month-old Elijah.
Sir Elton John raised $5.1 million (£3.2 million) for charity from his 22nd Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party on Sunday (02Mar14). The Rocket Man singer and his partner David Furnish were joined by the likes of Robert De Niro, Jane Fonda, Lady Gaga, Ozzy Osbourne and Taylor Swift for the big Hollywood bash, which also featured a silent auction.
Elton John is hoping to bring Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's musical Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat to the big screen after signing up to help adapt the project through his production company, Rocket Pictures. The Bennie and the Jets hitmaker has teamed up with Webber's The Really Useful Group to develop the film into an animated movie that his husband, David Furnish, will co-produce with Steve Hamilton Shaw.
Shaw says, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is one of the most popular musical experiences ever conceived. We are excited about the huge potential of a contemporary animated version, and we're thrilled to bring this to the big screen in partnership with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice."
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was originally created in 1968.
Webber says, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat started in a school and was the first step on the path that led to my musicals with Tim Rice. It is now being performed all over the world by a fourth generation of school kids, and a great movie can only help Joseph being part of the lives of many more."
Rice adds, "I have always thought Joseph was a strong contender for an animation production, and I'm delighted this is now going to happen."
Lady Gaga and Elton John reunited for the first time since ending their public feud for the Muppets festive TV special, which aired on Thursday (28Nov13). The Rocket Man hitmaker accused the singer, who is godmother to his two sons, of avoiding him and refusing to take his calls over the summer (13).
However, they appeared to be back on speaking terms when she joined him and his partner David Furnish for dinner in Los Angeles in September (13), and it now appears the two pop superstars are back on good terms again after he joined her for a two-song performance as part of Gaga's Thanksgiving Day TV special.
Praising the Born This Way hitmaker before the performance began, Elton expressed he was happy to be a part of the taped show, stating, "You're my favorite girl, you know that. I love ya' (sic)..."
She replied, "It's always nice when I get to spend time with you because you help me to stay inspired and put life into perspective."
The pair then performed renditions of Elton's hit Bennie and the Jets - retitled Gaga and the Jets - and We Could Belong Together from her new album Artpop, during which they were joined by Kermit the Frog and The Great Gonzo, among other Muppet stars.
Elton last appeared on TV with The Muppets in 1978, when he duetted with Miss Piggy on Don't Go Breaking My Heart, and played Crocodile Rock, Bennie And The Jets, and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road with assorted puppets on The Muppet Show.
Lady Gaga will show fans she has put an end to her feud with pal Sir Elton John when he joins her on a Muppets festive TV special next month (Nov13). The outspoken Rocket Man accused the singer, who is godmother to his two sons, of avoiding him and refusing to take his calls over the summer.
They appeared to be back on speaking terms when she joined him and his partner David Furnish for dinner in Los Angeles last month (Sep13), and now they will put on a united front by joining forces for the Lady Gaga & The Muppets' Holiday Spectacular.
The show will air in the U.S. on 28 November and will feature the two superstars performing with Jim Henson's beloved puppets.
Elton last appeared on The Muppet Show in 1978, when he duetted with Miss Piggy on Don't Go Breaking My Heart, as well as playing Crocodile Rock, Bennie And The Jets, and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
Began relationship in 1993; Furnish left his job as an account director at Ogilvy & Mather to make a documentary about John called "Tantrums & Tiaras" (1997); were also partners in Rocket Pictures; Entered a civil partnership in Berkshire, England on Dec. 21, 2005, the first day on which same-sex couples were allowed a legal status comparable to marriage