Sir Elton John has urged religious leaders around the world to throw their support behind gay marriage because "times have changed".
The music superstar entered into a civil partnership with film producer David Furnish in his native Britain in 2005, and the couple is planning to marry next year (15) after gay marriage was officially legalised in the U.K. in March (14).
Elton John has now declared religious institutions need to accept same-sex unions in order to cement equal rights for gay couples.
He tells Sky News, "The church hierarchy, the traditionalists, might be up in arms about it but times have changed. If Jesus Christ was alive today, I cannot see him, as the Christian person that he was and the great person that he was, saying this could not happen. He was all about love and compassion and forgiveness and trying to bring people together and that is what the church should be about."
The Rocket Man star also lavished praise on Catholic leader Pope Francis, calling him "wonderful" and hailing him as a forward-thinking Pontiff, adding, "He's excited me so much by his humanity... He's taken everything down to the humility of faith. He's stripped it down to the bare bones and said it's all basically about love and inclusiveness. That has to be encouraged by the Church of England as well."