Furnish told me this news Friday while we sat in a luxurious booth at the Caesars Palace lounge he created, Fizz Las Vegas (the prettiest lounge I’ve ever seen in Vegas, by the way).
Elton and Furnish entered a British civil partnership eight years ago. But today is the first day gay couples can legally wed in England.
“We don’t feel the need to take an extra step legally. But since we’re committed for life, we feel it’s really important to take that step, and take advantage of that amazing change in legislation. We all live by example,” Furnish said.
I told him I was surprised he and Elton don’t want to throw another big wedding party.
“We do like big parties,” Furnish said. “Over eight years ago, we had 650 people on the 21st of December at our house in Windsor.
“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.”
Furnish wears large tattoos of the boys’ names on the inside of his forearms in Old Gothic script, “Elijah” on the left arm, “Zachary” on the right. Elton has their names tattooed on his back, Furnish said.
Furnish, 51, said he and Elton entered a civil partnership as a symbolic way to support the movement that so many people had struggled to achieve, and to acknowledge their commitment to each other.
Civil partnership changed them more than they expected.
“After we did it, we felt this amazing sense of commitment and happiness we didn’t anticipate happening. It’s a really nice thing,” Furnish said.
“Initially, the political side of you is like, ‘No, no, we must have equality.’ When you finally get it, it’s like, ‘Oh my god, this feels really nice.’ It’s a lifting thing.”
When Furnish was younger, he never thought he’d get the opportunity to marry.
“I remember trying to come out to my mother and unfortunately going to all the negatives. ‘You’ll never get married. You’ll never have children. You’ll never be accepted by society. You’ll be prejudiced against. You won’t have a future.’
“I resigned myself to having a different life. I found it particularly difficult and challenging, because I came from a wonderful marriage; my parents are madly in love still. They’ve been married over 60 years.
“I wanted what they had. I came from a happy union, and I loved the associations I had from that. I felt very loved and encouraged.”
He was frustrated when he found out marriage between two loved ones was forbidden.
“I found it particularly painful.”
But the world is changing.
“We’re living in extraordinary times. My god, 20 years ago, when I started seeing Elton, if you asked me if I’d be able to get married, if I’d be able to have children, it was unthinkable, literally unimaginable.”
Furnish believes people’s exposure to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people through our “more media-intensive times” has helped many people reexamine previous biases.
“With access to more information, the barriers come down.”
I said to Furnish I believe we should all send thank-you cards to “Will & Grace” for starting a landslide of public acceptance through that show’s exposure to lovable characters.
“I went to high school with Eric McCormack,” who starred on “Will & Grace,” Furnish said. “We were in the same drama program together.
“It’s funny how life works, coming from the same little conservative suburb of Toronto, but you find yourself years later in a room in L.A., saying, ‘OK, I’m in this super high-profile gay relationship, and you’re in this super high-profile gay TV series. Who’d have thought?’”