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1000 marriage supporters pack Parliament House

More than 1000 people packed the Great Hall of Parliament House, Canberra yesterday in a show of support for legislation which would define marriage as being exclusively between a man and a woman.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference media office reports that the National Marriage Forum was hosted by the National Marriage Coalition which was founded by the Australian Christian Lobby, the Australian Family Association and the Fatherhood Foundation.

Prime Minister John Howard addressed the Forum, defending his legislation and in a possible hint at election timing, urging the Senate to pass the bill within the next two weeks so that it did not become an election issue.

Labor has supported the move to define marriage, but has opposed the government's bid to also ban same-sex adoption. The Australian Democrats are opposed to both aspects of the legislation and have referred it, with Labor's support, to a Senate committee.

In response, the government has split the bill and will re-introduce the marriage definition legislation this week.

Mr Howard commended the organisers of the Forum and said the large numbers of people present showed how important the issue was to the community.

"I have a very simple view about the issue that is currently before the federal parliament, and that is to insert affirmatively into the Marriage Act the definition of marriage that we have always commonly understood in our society," he said.

"It expresses the fundamental Judeo-Christian view and that is that marriage is a lifelong union between a man and woman to the exclusion of all others. It is also a view of marriage which is entertained by many other religions around the world and also by many people who profess no religious faith at all.

Pictured: Bill Muehlenberg of the Australian Family Association addressing the forum (photo - Debra Way ACBC)

More than 1,000 pack Parliament House in support of marriage (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 7/8/04)

5 Aug 2004