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Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd defends gay marriage days before elections

BY ROD MCGUIRK, ASSOCIATED PRESS

CANBERRA, Australia -- Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has mounted a spirited defense 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 U.S. 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.

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