RM Issue #030810
Aussie PM nixes gay unions
Tue, August 5, 2003
Gay activists lobby U.N.
Episcopalians delay vote on gay bishop
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) - Australia's conservative prime minister has no plans to allow gay marriages because such unions do nothing to ensure the "survival of the species."
In an interview published in Tuesday's edition of the Courier-Mail newspaper, Howard said there would be no legislation clearing the way for same-sex marriages while he was prime minister. "The reason is not based on discrimination," he told Brisbane's Courier- Mail. "It is that marriage as we have traditionally understood it (is) the voluntary union between a man and a woman, hopefully for life."
Howard said while he respected people's sexual preferences, those calling for gay marriages to be recognized did not understand what marriage meant.
"It's a bedrock institution," he said. "You're talking here about the survival of the species."
Howard said marriage was the vehicle for "providing the most secure environment" for raising the next generation.
Australia's vibrant gay community has repeatedly called for same- sex unions to be given the same legal recognition as marriages between a man and a woman.
While Australian state governments are moving toward granting more rights and recognition to same-sex couples, it is Howard's federal administration that would have to introduce any measure formally legalizing gay marriages.