(Sydney, Australia) Thousands of same-sex couples demonstrated Sunday in towns and cities across Australia demanding the federal government repeal the ban on gay marriage.
In January the government moved to block gays from marrying abroad where same-sex unions are legal.
Some countries require proof from foreign nationals that people seeking to wed are not already married. The government instructed its embassies and consulates in Canada and in Europe to refuse to provide eligibility certificates to people they believe are gay.
Howard also has refused to consider civil unions. After civil partnerships became legal in the UK Howard was asked if his government ever would consider same-sex marriage or civil partnerships. "Never' he replied (story)
When Australian Capital Territory passed legislation giving same-sex couples most of the rights of marriage the federal government blocked the bill from being implemented. (story)
More than 1000 people attended Sunday's protest in Sydney. Other demonstrations were held in Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Hobart and nearly a dozen other centers.
Last month the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission began a six month inquiry into the effects of federal law banning same-sex marriage and the refusal of the government to consider civil partnerships.