In a Q&A appearance on Australian television, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd defended his support of same-sex marriage after a local pastor challenged him to measure his views against the Biblical definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.

Responding to the comment, Keven Rudd said: “The Bible also says slavery is a natural condition – Saint Paul said in the New Testament, ‘slaves be obedient to your masters’.”

After applause from the audience, he added: “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.”

Mr Rudd has vowed to take the first steps towards legalising same-sex marriage in Austrialia if he wins another term.

He said his decision to back marriage equality was made after “years of reflection in good Christian conscience.”

Mr Rudd announced his support for equal marriage in May, having previously been against it.

His challenger, Liberal Party leader Tony Abbot remains opposed to marriage equality.

Last month, in a Sydney stadio station interview, Kevid Rudd also said that there is “no place” for sexism, racism or homophobia in the country.

He said: “My policy’s pretty simple, that in modern Australia, neither sexism nor racism nor homophobia has any place whatsoever.”