Sir Elton John has told CNBC that he would press the Queen regarding LGBT rights “if the worst comes to the worst”.
The singer and his husband David Furnish spoke to the network
about the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s partnership with the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Each group will donate $5 million towards making medication more accessible to HIV and AIDS patients in countries still prejudiced against the LGBT community – starting with sub-Saharan Africa.
Despite a steady surge of victories for the LGBT movement in various parts of the world, there are several countries left with anti-gay legislation. Furnish suggested that the UK, in particular, is in a position to help advance LGBT rights in Commonwealth nations.
Furnish said, “I think we as a country in Britain, and our Commonwealth, could perhaps look at the advances we’ve made in our own country in relation to LGBT rights, and the influence that we have on Commonwealth countries and, you know, push a little harder.
“We definitely can lead that way. I think we can always do more.”
John pitched in, saying the Queen could easily abolish such archaic policies. "These laws come from the Commonwealth,” he said. “These laws can be changed very easily by the Queen saying, 'Change the law.' I haven't approached her about that yet."
Asked if he would really do so, he said, "If the worst comes to the worst, one has to, yeah.
“These are old laws from the British Commonwealth, I mean these can be changed. And so the Queen could do that with one wave of her hand."
42 of the 53 countries in the Commonwealth currently have anti-gay laws on the statute books, though they are enforced to varying degrees.
According to the official website of the British monarchy, although the Queen is "not part of the machinery of government in the Commonwealth," she holds private meetings with the countries' leaders during the Commonwealth Heads of Government gathering that is held every two years.
In the same interview, John revealed that he’s still planning to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin about LGBT issues. The unlikely duo spoke on the phone in September
after pranksters rang the musical icon and convinced him that he was talking to Putin
"He was very affable, he was very apologetic, he was very sincere." Elton said of the Russian president.
"As soon as I can get a date in my diary that coincides with him, then I will be going... to Moscow and I will meet him.
"Whether or not I make any progress, I don't know. I'm not going to go straight in there and go, 'come on, you've got to do this, you've got to do that.' This is the starting of a dialogue and you don't get anywhere without a dialogue."
US rapper The Game continues to shock fans with explicit selfies (NSFW)
Gay couple bullied by racist and homophobic trolls tie the knot in beautiful ceremony