We've made some great strides in the struggle for equal rights over the last 50 years -- and Elton John has been a beneficiary, living as a publicly gay man in a civil union with his partner and their adopted son. But he knows we still have a long way to go, and he's using his celebrity to help further the cause.

In an editorial for the U.K.'s Independent that begins with "The historic fight for equality must go on," John admitted, "I know a lot of people will say we should count ourselves lucky to live in a country that allows civil partnerships, and call it quits there." But, he added, "I don't accept that."

Recounting his nearly 20-year relationship with his partner David Furnish, John argued, "there is a world of difference between calling someone your 'partner' and calling them your 'husband.' 'Partner' is a word that should be preserved for people you play tennis with, or work alongside in business. It doesn't come close to describing the love that I have for David, and he for me."

But, of course, this issue is bigger than John's relationship with Furnish -- he's focused on broadening the definition of marriage for society as a whole, and for the future generations that will include their son and his own children. "Wouldn't it be a huge source of national pride if we led, rather than just followed, the currents of history," he asked, "and became one of the first countries in the world to say being married isn't about whether you're straight or gay, but about whether you're human?"

To that end, John's lending his name to an Independent petition urging the legalization of gay marriage in the UK. It might be little more than a symbolic show of support, but it's also pretty easy to do -- and the vast majority of the petition's signers have done just that, saying they "strongly agree" with John's plea.