By Deepa Seetharaman and Nadia Damouni DETROIT/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co's board of directors plans to press Chief Executive Alan Mulally soon for a decision on his future, as speculation intensifies that he may be offered the job of CEO at Microsoft Corp. Mulally, 68, is one of a handful of candidates still in contention for the Microsoft role, according to several sources close to the technology giant, and he has not tried to dispel talk that he is interested in the job. That has begun to vex some on Ford's board, two sources told Reuters this week, and the issue will be discussed when the board meets in the Detroit area on Thursday. Microsoft declined comment on the progress of its CEO search, and a Ford spokesman repeated earlier statements that Mulally is slated to stay as Ford CEO through 2014, although it emerged in September that the board would be open to him leaving earlier than that. Even if Mulally does not take the Microsoft job, it is unlikely he will stay at Ford through the end of next year, the two sources said.
Australia's High Court on Thursday struck down gay marriage in the nation's capital where dozens have wed under a landmark law, ruling that parliament must decide whether to approve same-sex unions. Had the nation's top court upheld the Australian Capital Territory's gay marriage legislation it would have opened the door to similar laws being passed across the country, pressuring the government to make it legal at a national level. In a unanimous decision, the court ruled that the national parliament -- not state and territory authorities -- had the ultimate say over marriage and whether it was extended to same-sex couples was a matter for lawmakers. Gay marriage has been explicitly outlawed in Australia since 2004, when then-prime minister John Howard amended the Marriage Act to specify that such unions were only valid between a man and a woman.