Elton John plans to marry his long term partner David Furnish on Dec. 21, the first day that civil partnerships between gay couples will be possible in England.

Elton John plans to marry his long term partner David Furnish on Dec. 21, the first day that civil partnerships between gay couples will be possible in England. In an interview in Attitude magazine, which hits the newsstands today (Nov. 25), John said the ceremony would be a small, private affair involving only himself and Furnish and their parents acting as witnesses.

"Out of respect for their [our parents'] support, we want to just keep it small -- not to make a ballyhoo of the ceremony," he told the gay lifestyle magazine. "There will be a party somewhere, but the day will be very low key and we'll take our parents to lunch afterwards."

The Civil Partnership Act allows British same-sex couples to effectively marry when it comes into force on Dec. 5. Couples who want to wed under the act must post a notification at a registry office first, meaning that the first such ceremonies in England will take place on Dec. 21.

Attitude magazine said in a statement yesterday that John and Furnish, who have been together for about 12 years, intended to marry on Dec. 21. John's publicist, Gary Farrow, said it was the "probable" date for the ceremony.

John added: "I haven't thought so much about the emotional side of it yet, but I'm sure this is going to be an incredibly emotional day."

The 58-year-old singer, one of the most successful solo artists in pop history with classics including "Your Song" and "Candle in the Wind," previously married Renate Blauel in 1984 but they divorced four years later.

Canadian-born Furnish, 43, welcomed the legislation. "It is one of the defining issues of our times. And I applaud Britain for embracing the diversity of our society," he said.

John's publicist said earlier this year that one of the main reasons John and Furnish wanted to formalize their relationship was financial, with civil partnerships giving partners tax breaks available to married couples.

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