Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has rejected a proposal that civil unions should be offered to gay couples.

The Sydney Star Observer reports that a government spokesperson stated that the decision “reflects the widely held view in the community that marriage is between a man and a woman”.

However, the administration has promised to extend recognition and support to same-sex families, saying it will provide inclusion strategies and a relationship register.

The response from the government stated: “One step towards eliminating discrimination against same-sex couples is for their relationships to be legally recognised.

“As part of the government’s same-sex law reforms, registered relationships will also be recognised in many Commonwealth laws to provide a more consistent approach to the recognition of relationships.”

Australian Marriage Equality spokesman Peter Furness argued that most citizens support gay marriage.

He said: “Opinion polls consistently show that a majority of Australians support same-sex marriage, making a nonsense of the Government’s stated belief that its policy ‘reflects a widely held view in the community’”,

“The Rudd government has shown that its vision for the future is blinkered by prejudices from the past.”