In ruling out his support for gay marriage in Australia, Prime Minister John Howard said Tuesday that it does nothing to support "survival of the species." "I'm opposed to changing the law in Australia to give them the same status as marriage that we all understand in our society," Howard told a Darwin radio station during a tour of the Northern Territory. "That's not an expression of discrimination--it's just an expression that marriage as we understand it is one of the bedrock institutions of our society. It's very much about the raising of children...and the continuation of our species. The idea that you can treat a gay relationship in precisely the same way as you do a marriage as we understand it is not a view that I support, and I certainly would not be initiating any moves to change the law to that effect."
Earlier Howard told the Courier Mail that while he respects gays and lesbians, he feels that those calling for gay marriages to be recognized do not understand what marriage means. "It's a bedrock institution," he said. "You're talking here about the survival of the species." Howard said marriage is the vehicle for "providing the most secure environment" for raising the next generation.
The Vatican last week condemned gay marriages as deviant and a threat to society, one day after President Bush, a close ally of Howard's, stated his view that the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman should be codified into law.
Australian leader says gay marriage threatens "survival of the species"