Australian Prime Minister John Howard has stood by his view on gay marriage stating that he does not have an anti homosexual agenda.

The federal government threatened to introduce legislation to counter plans in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) to introduce a law on same sex unions last week, prompting accusations of homophobia.

ACT Chief Minister John Stanhope questioned whether there is a place in John Howard’s Australia for homosexuals.

Mr Howard refuted the claims and denied plans to veto the legislation are “anti-homosexual.”

He stated he is simply trying to uphold the special place marriage holds in Australia, he told Channel 10. “This is not an anti-homosexual gesture. This is a gesture to support the special and traditional place of marriage as a heterosexual union for life of a man and a woman in Australian society.

“Why we’re against what the ACT is doing is that, in all but name, they are equating same-sex unions with marriage.

“I don’t support that, not because I’m against homosexuals, but I think there should always be a margin for marriage as we understand it in our society, you don’t equate a gay union with a traditional marriage – that’s our position.”

If the Civil Partnership bill is successful in ACT areas such as Canberra, it would be a landmark for Australian law, although it could still be overturned by the federal government