Elton John, partner guests of honour at US gay rights gala

British pop music icon Elton John (above) and his partner David Furnish will be the guests of honour when the Human Rights Campaign hosts its annual gala, the LGBT rights group said Wednesday. -- PHOTO: AFP
British pop music icon Elton John (above) and his partner David Furnish will be the guests of honour when the Human Rights Campaign hosts its annual gala, the LGBT rights group said Wednesday. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - British pop music icon Elton John and his partner David Furnish will be the guests of honour when the Human Rights Campaign hosts its annual gala, the LGBT rights group said Wednesday.

In a statement, the HRC - at the forefront of efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in the United States - said it wanted to salute the couple for their work as global AIDS activists and philanthropists.

"As we celebrate the progress we've made over the last year while focusing on what we have yet to accomplish, their life's work inspires us as we keep moving forward for equality," said HRC president Chad Griffin.

Former president Bill Clinton, whose wife Hillary is considering a White House bid, is to deliver the keynote address at the sold-out HRC National Dinner on October 25 in Washington that is expected to attract more than 3,000 guests.

British-born John, 67, one of the world's most popular recording artists, is founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which has raised more than US$300 million (S$382 million) to support AIDS programmes in more than 50 countries.

He entered into a civil partnership with Furnish, 51, a Canadian-born filmmaker and former advertising executive, in December 2005. The couple, with homes in Britain and the United States, have two young sons via a surrogate.