Australia's Labor party supports recognition of same sex couples but stops short of marriage equality (AFP)
Australia's centre-left ruling party on Saturday voted for national recognition of same-sex unions but stopped short of lifting a ban on gay marriage.
The national Labor conference voted to develop a system for the registration and recognition of same-sex relationships, after gay rights advocates failed to gather enough numbers for a resolution to legalise gay marriage......
A recent poll suggested up to 60 percent of Australians supported gay marriage and the statistics bureau in May announced it would count same-sex couples who declared themselves married in the national census.
WIth 60 percent support what's the problem? Probably the usual suspects, those who insist their religious views trump others'.
The Prime Minister Kevin Rudd makes it clear that he doesn't support marriage equality, leading to protests across Australia last weekend. The NY Times:
"The prime minister has made it clear that a Labour government will not support any form of recognition of relationships that undermine marriage," Attorney-General Robert McClelland told delegates to the Labour Party conference.
Rudd, a church-going Christian, has long opposed formal recognition of gay marriage and promised before he won power in 2007 that he would ensure national marriage laws would continue to define marriage as between a man and woman.
Gay marriage remains illegal in Australia, but the states of Tasmania and Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory, all allow a form of civil union, which gives gay couples similar rights to married couples......Rudd's government is also committed to ending all other discrimination on the grounds of sexuality.