Australian state premier bars gay marriage bill

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The premier of the Australian state of Victoria has declared his opposition to proposals for a gay marriage bill similar to the British Civil Partnerships Act to be introduced in his state.

Steve Bracks, the Australian Labor [sic] party Victoria premier has refused to allow an official who is responsible for drafting legislation to assist independent MP, Andrew Olexander to draft a civil unions bill.

Sharon McCrohan, the premier’s official spokesperson told the Sunday Age that the state government would block all moves to introduce gay marriages and will seek to deny the right for a debate on the issue. “It is not on the Government’s agenda,” she said.

A spokesman for opposition Liberal leader Robert Doyle responded with a “no comment” when asked if the Liberal Party would support a civil unions bill.

Mr Olexander said he was obviously disappointed that the prime minister was not supporting his attempts to introduce a bill but said: “it is by no means the end of the initiative.”

“I am also going to be seeking the assistance of the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby and lawyers associated with them to assist with the drafting process,” he added.

Mr Olexander said claimed that the prime minster would have to explain his attitudes to the”many people in the community who support the initiative” at November’s state elections.

The Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby’s Ron Thiele said his group was “talking with the Government about the best way to proceed, and we are looking forward to initiatives in the next year”.

Last year, Australia’s national prime minister, John Howard of the Liberal party said that he believed “very strongly that marriage is exclusively a union for life of a man and a woman to the exclusion of others.” The Australian Liberal party despite its name is a socially conservative party linked to Britain’s Conservatives, whose leadership supported the introduction of civil partnerships for gay couples last year.