Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Thursday that the Australian government will file a legal challenge against a proposed gay marriage law.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) last month introduced a bill which seeks to legalize marriage for gay and lesbian couples in the territory, which includes Canberra, the nation's capital.

Abbott, whose conservative Liberal-National coalition swept into power on September 7 on a pledge to lower taxes, told reporters that the federal government would mount a High Court challenge.

“It is pretty clear under our constitution that it is the Commonwealth that has responsibility for the rules regarding marriage,” Abbott is quoted as telling reporters by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). “We think it's important that there be a uniform approach to marriage throughout the Commonwealth and that's what we are going to do our best to ensure.”

The bill is expected to pass this month and gay couples in the territory could marry as early as December, ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher told ABC.

The federal government can also override laws approved in Australia's smallest self-governing internal territory.