By Terry Vanderheyden

CANBERRA, December 22, 2005 ( – Australian Prime Minister John Howard said Australia would not be following Britain’s lead by introducing a class of marriage for same-sex couples.

“I believe very strongly that marriage is exclusively a union for life of a man and a woman to the exclusion of others,” Howard said, as reported by the Australian Associated Press. “That’s the common understanding of marriage in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and I would be opposed to the recognition of civil unions.”

Australian lawmakers voted to amend the Marriage Act last year that enshrined the traditional definition of marriage as between a man and woman exclusively. Asked if he would support same-sex civil partnership legislation, Howard responded: “I would be opposed to it. I think marriage is for men and women. That’s why we amended the Marriage Act [in August 2004].”


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