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    Elton Sets Wedding Date

    All he ever needed was the One, and now he's finally set one--a date, that is.

    Elton John has confirmed that he and longtime partner David Furnish will tie the knot in a civil ceremony on Dec. 21, the day the United Kingdom's new Civil Partnership Act takes effect, allowing gay couples to formalize their unions.

    The flamboyant pop star says he's trading in the feather boas, star-studded celebrity guest list and an extravagant aisle walk for a more intimate affair that will include only himself, Furnish and their parents, who will serve as witnesses for the occasion.

    "Out of respect for [our family's] support, we want to just keep it small--not to make a ballyhoo of the ceremony," John, 58, told gay lifestyle magazine Attitude in its latest edition, hitting newsstands on Friday. "There will be a party somewhere, but the day will be very low key and we'll take our parents to lunch afterwards."

    No further details have been announced.

    The Rocket Man has been linked to Furnish, a 43-year-old Canadian filmmaker and socialite, for close to 12 years, and they got engaged last April. John often credits Furnish for helping him kick his painful drug and alcohol addictions.

    This will be the second time Sir Elton has swapped vows. He was previously wed to Renate Blauel from 1984 to 1988.

    Before John and Furnish can get hitched, they'll need to send a notification to a registry office. The Civil Partnership Act legalizing same-sex unions goes into effect Dec. 5, but the first unions won't be official until Dec. 20 in Scotland and Dec. 21 in England. Up to 22,000 gay and lesbian couples are expected to register as civil partners, allowing them to earn tax breaks and other rights granted to married couples.

    For his part, Furnish said that while he and John were happy to receive the financial benefits provided by the legislation, they were more excited about being part of history.

    "It is one of the defining issues of our times. And I applaud Britain for embracing the diversity of our society," he said.

    During the interview with Attitude, John dismissed speculation that he and Furnish might adopt.

    "I didn't want to be a 70-something with a teenage child and all the worry that entails," John said. "David is amazing with [children], he has a very special way with them...[But] we just agreed that, well, I'm way too selfish. I'm too set in my ways. I'll take the perks of being gay where I can get them and that's one of them for me: Gay men are the only group of people who aren't looked down upon if they don't have kids."

    Sir Elton has plenty to keep him occupied while he prepares for the big day. In addition to his long-running Las Vegas show, he has more European dates in support of his 2004 album, Peachtree Road, an ongoing collaboration with the Scissor Sisters and he is putting the finishing touches on the bloodsucking Broadway musical Lestat, based on the Anne Rice novel and due on Broadway next year. His previous theatrical go-round, a stage version of the movie Billy Elliot, debuted last May in London to rave reviews and earned John an early wedding present--the Best Musical prize at the Evening Standard Theater Awards Monday.

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