THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
CANBERRA, Australia -- Australian Prime Minister John Howard said Thursday his government will move to ban gay marriages and same-sex couples from adopting children from overseas.
The move will likely meet opposition in Parliament's upper house, the Senate, where the government does not have a majority. However the opposition Labor Party also is divided over the issue, which could mean the move will become law.
Howard's announcement also could also meet opposition from some Australian states, which regulate adoption. But the federal government will be able to overrule state authorities in cases involving gay couples bringing a child into Australia from overseas, because it controls immigration.
Howard is a conservative who previously has said he believes marriages are for the continuation of the human race.
But in a concession to gays and lesbians, the government also announced that same-sex partners will be recognized for the first time by federal authorities as dependents, allowing them access to their partner's pension after the partner's death.
Previously only married and common-law partners and children were allowed tax concession on pension pay outs after death.