Elton John says he and his partner David Furnish plan a small private ceremony to seal their civil partnership under new legislation offering gays many of the legal protections available to married heterosexuals.

"It'll be a very small family affair and then in the evening there'll be a soiree somewhere, which we have yet to work out," John was quoted as saying in an interview with Attitude magazine released Thursday.

"But the ceremony itself will be David's parents and my parents and the two of us. They'll be our witnesses. That's the way we want to do it. They've been so fantastic to us and so supportive. Out of respect for their support, we want to just keep it small. Not to make a ballyhoo of the ceremony," John was quoted as saying.

The ceremony will be held on Dec. 21, the effective date of the legislation creating civil partnerships.

Furnish, a Canadian-born filmmaker, and John have been together for 12 years.

"As far as I'm concerned, I've always considered myself committed to Elton and he's the person that I want to spend the rest of my life with. So in that sense I don't feel like the dynamic of our relationship is going to change," Furnish was quoted as saying.

"But from a social standpoint, I think it's hugely significant. It is a major, major change. It is one of the defining issues of our times. And I applaud Britain for embracing the diversity of our society."