Australia election: Kevin Rudd defends new gay marriage stance

Prime Minister has promised to hold a Parliamentary vote on allowing gay couples to marry if Labor Party wins

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has mounted a spirited defence of same-sex marriage only days out from Australian elections.

Rudd announced in May that he had reconsidered his opposition to same-sex marriage, and he promised to hold a Parliamentary vote on allowing gay couples to marry within 100 days if his center-left Labor Party wins the election. 

Rudd was questioned about his new stance at a nationally broadcast forum in his hometown of Brisbane late Monday by New Hope Church Pastor Matt Prater. Pratt quoted from the Bible a definition of marriage as a man leaving his father and mother to be united to his wife. 

Rudd replied that human and social conditions change. 

"Well mate, if I was going to have that view, the Bible also says that slavery is a natural condition," Rudd said. 

"Because St. Paul said in the New Testament: Slaves be obedient to your masters. And therefore we should have all fought for the Confederacy in the US Civil War," he added. 

Rudd said the fundamental principle of the New Testament was universal love. 

"If we get obsessed with a particular definition of that through a form of sexuality, then I think we are missing the centrality of what the Gospel," Rudd said. 

"If you think homosexuality is an unnatural condition, then frankly I cannot agree with you based on any element of the science," he added. 

Gay marriage is a point of difference between Rudd and opposition leader Tony Abbott, whose conservative coalition is favorite to win Saturday's elections after six years out of power. 

Abbott remains staunchly opposed to same-sex marriage, despite his lesbian sister Christine Forster endorsing marriage equality. 

He said Tuesday that Australians should not expect a vote on gay marriage in the next three-year term of Parliament after the weekend election. 

"Everyone knows where I stand on this," said Abbott, a former Roman Catholic seminarian. "There are some of my colleagues who have a different position on this." 

Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome described Rudd's defense of marriage equality as "a historic moment in the campaign for the reform." 

Croome urged people of faith who support marriage equality to follow the example set by Rudd, who is a Catholic. 

"It is unprecedented in Australian history for a prime minister to give such a strong defense of equality for gay people, and it was made all the more compelling because it was from a Christian perspective," Croome said in a statement. 

"Mr. Rudd gave a moral and spiritual urgency to marriage equality that will resonate with many Australians, including many Australians Christians, and which marks a historic moment in the debate," he added. 

The Labor Party removed its opposition to same-sex marriage in 2011. But the opposition remains opposed and its lawmakers are bound to vote down any legislation that would allow it. 

Two bills that would have allowed gay marriage were rejected by Parliament last year.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Arts and Entertainment
books New York Times slammed over summer reading list
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine