Australian Prime Minister John Howard Thursday ruled out legalising same-sex marriages despite a new survey showing that most Australians support giving homosexuals the right to tie the knot.
"There's no possibility of our attitude in relation to gay marriage changing," the conservative leader told a radio interviewer.
Howard's remarks came as national opinion poll found that 57 percent of Australians support same-sex marriage. The Galaxy survey of 1,100 Australians also found that 71 percent believe same-sex de facto couples should be entitled to the same legal rights as their heterosexual counterparts.
The leader of the Australian Greens party, who is gay, said the poll illustrated that the government and the main opposition Labor Party lagged behind voters in their attitudes.
"It shows how out of touch both the government and the opposition are with Australians wanting to get rid of discrimination against same-sex couples," Senator Bob Brown told reporters.
Attitudes to homosexuality had changed dramatically over the past 50 years, Brown said, but there was still a long way to go. "We're talking about the 21st century here, not last century: same sex couples should have the same rights as other couples and the Australian public want it that way," he said.
A report by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Community on entitlements for same sex couples is expected to be released Friday.