BRISBANE, Queensland, Australia — Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, appearing Monday on an Australian national political program “Questions & Answers,” defended his support for marriage equality in a spirited exchange in which he went toe-to-toe with a local pastor on the Biblical definition of marriage.
Rudd was responding to a question by New Hope Church Pastor Matt Prater, who asked how the prime minister could support same-sex marriage when the “the bible states marriage is between a man and a woman.”
“The Bible also says slavery is a natural condition. St. Paul said in the New Testament, ‘slaves be obedient to your masters,'” Rudd answered, to applause from the audience.
“What is the fundamental condition of the New Testament? It is one of love. If we get obsessed of the definition through a form of sexuality, you are missing what the gospel is all about,” Rudd said.
Rudd has said his decision to support same-sex marriage was made after “years of reflection in good Christian conscience,” and with the knowledge that people are born gay.
He has vowed to introduce marriage equality legislation within 100 days if re-elected, becoming the first Australian leader to make such a promise.
Same-sex marriage is a point of difference between Rudd and opposition leader Tony Abbott, whose conservative coalition is favorite to win Saturday’s elections after six years out of power.
Abbott remains staunchly opposed to same-sex marriage, despite his lesbian sister Christine Forster endorsing marriage equality.
He said Tuesday that Australians should not expect a vote on gay marriage in the next three-year term of Parliament after the weekend election.