SIR Elton John's Wednesday (21DEC05) wedding to longterm love David Furnish will be marred by his sadness for gay couples who live in countries where the union of same-sex partners remains outlawed.

The SACRIFICE hitmaker expressed his sorrow in British Sunday paper The Observer, bringing attention to the estimated 80 countries around the world which consider homosexuality illegal, and citing abuse cases in Jamaica, the Unitied Arab Emirates, Iraq, Poland and Uganda.

John writes, "It has been a long struggle for equal rights to gay people in Britain, but now, in the 21st century, we have real civil rights, tolerance and final acceptance in our lives.

"Next Wednesday, on the happiest day of my life, when I celebrate a civil partnership with David, I will be thinking, however, about those less fortunate than we are. In many countries, having a same-sex partner is still outlawed.

"Throughout history, gay people such as myself and David have often been made scapegoats by those who fear that we are a threat to the status quo."