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Location: Kansas City, Missouri, United States

Doing my part to irritate Republicans, fundamentalists, bigots and other lower life forms.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Saying "I do ... need the publicity"

Bginning Dec. 21 in England, same-sex couples will be allowed to get married. Well, maybe not "married" exactly, but enter into Civil Partnerships ... so I guess the term will be "civily partnered."

That's a major step for the U.K. and a major victory of British gays and lesbians, including some high-profile couples who have announced plans to tie the knot or bind the partnership or however they will describe it.

Among them is Elton John - oops! "Sir" Elton John, I mean - and his partner David Furnish, who seemed to make a mad dash to announce their plans as soon as the U.K. approved civil partnerships. Not to be outdone, George Michael of the nearly forgotten due "Wham" (not to mention his long-remembered Beverly Hills tearoom arrest) and his partner, Kenny Goss, jumped onto the partnership bandwagon and announced they plan to exchange vows soon, probably early next year.

Call me cynical (though I much prefer the phrase "wise in the ways of the world"), but it's hard to look at these to impending nuptuals as love matches when they have all the trappings of marriages of convenient publicity.

First we have Elton whose career peak came and went decades ago. "The Bitch is Back," according to Elton's song from the days when he still had talent, but in his case the song should have been titled "The Bitch is STILL Here!" Now, instead of turning out pop songs that actually get played on the radio, Elton is trying to dig his fingernails into fame and hang on by singing duets with anyone who'll sing with him. (Remember his embarassing duet with homophobic rapper Eminem on the Grammys a few years ago? That was the first time I noticed his eyebrows move around like two wooly catepillars desparately trying to flee his face when he sings.)

If he can't find anyone to sing with him, Elton tries to keep the spotlight shining on him with outrageously bitchy comments, a la attacking Madonna for miming her songs (for which he later apologized).

Not to be outdone in the race to the altar, George Michael hopes to civily partner with his boyfriend "probably after the first of the year," according to He also adds, much to the relief of fashionistas everywhere, "We won't be doing the whole veil and gown thing."

Oddly enough, the wedding does seem to correspond with the release of a rather self-indulgently titled documentary George Michael: A Different Story, which follows the highs and lows of George's life and career. Apparently, his relationship with boyfriend Goss is one of the highs and is featured prominently in the film; so what better way to promote a documentary on a fading pop star than take the relationship to its logical conclusion and get hitched. Mediocre sit-com writers have been using the "wedding angle" to boost ratings during the all-important sweeps periods for years. (These same writers also use the "new baby angle," too ... but please don't tell Elton or George that unless you want to see baby photos of Elton's or George's new baby gracing the cover of People magazine the next time their stardom begins to fade.)

Maybe I shouldn't be so cynical. Perhaps Elton's and George's partnerships are truly love matches with their soul mates. But these are cynical times and it's easy to imagine that both fading divas (or is it "divos"?) captializing on their partnerships as an attempt to hang onto past glories.

As high profile as these civil partnerships will be, I just don't want to read any headlines a year or so from now like "Elton calls it splitsville with hubby" or "George Michael's partner dumps him after 'tearoom' incident." That would just provide more ammunition to the anti same-sex marriage folks who will use it as "proof" that we shouldn't be allowed to marry.

For now I'll wish the best for Elton and David and George and Kenneth - and remind them rather pointedly that the rest of us are counting on them.

And I'll add a tip of the hat to Queen Elizabeth's mother, the Queen mum, who, with the impending "marriages," will soon by the last tired old queen still single in Britain.