David Furnish plays down complaint about ‘unfair’ honours system depriving him of Elton’s title

Sir Elton John’s husband has sought to play down complaints at being excluded from sharing the singer’s title.

The music legend – who was awarded a knighthood for services to music in 1998 – has been with Mr Furnish for 21 years, and they tied the knot in 2005.

When a man with a title marries a woman, his wife automatically receives a courtesy title: for example if Sir Elton married a woman, his wife would be Lady John.

However, as the honours system was not updated to reflect the changes to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, Mr Furnish is not able to use a title, and will remain Mr Furnish.

The Equality (Titles) Bill 2013 attempted to change the rules – which also deny titles to male spouses of women with honours – but the legislation did not progress.

Mr Furnish had complained about the issue this week, telling the Mail:  “I think everybody should have the same opportunities and the same privileges and the same honours.”

However, he has since attempted to walk back his comments – claiming he is not personally looking to use his husband’s title.

Referring to the Mail interview, he said: “The presentation of this shameful article is a total misrepresentation.

“My conversation has been twisted and distorted in an attempt to paint me in an unflattering light. At no point did I ever say that I personally wanted or deserved any title.

“My comments were that all men and women should be treated equally in our society and that should apply to our Honours System as well.”

The Mail has stood by the original interview.

Mr Furnish’s dual Canadian citizenship would still preclude him from using Sir Elton’s title if the system is changed – he would likely have to become a full UK citizen in order to qualify.

It is unclear what the male equivalent title of ‘Lady’ would be if it did exist, though the 2013 bill suggested ‘The Honourable’

Despite the lack of progress on honours, the system was changed to ensure that gay men could not become Queen or Princess by marrying a future King or Prince.