Australian coalition MPs banned from free vote on gay marriage
In potentially a blow for same-sex marriage advocates in Australia, coalition government MPs will not be allowed a free vote on the issue.
Many, from across the political spectrum, have been lobbying the Government to allow a free vote on same-sex marriage.
However, according to reports from ABC, after a five hour-long meeting, two-thirds of the coalition party room voted against a free vote on same-sex marriage.
The latest attempt to legalise equal marriage in Australia, a new bill, will be introduced to the parliament on Monday.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has been under immense pressure to allow his MPs a free vote on the issue, apparently addressed the party room at the end of the meeting, to say that after the next election the coalition would have no choice but to allow a free vote, or a public referendum on the issue.
A Coalition MP, who was not named, told ABC: “the final vote [count] was 66-33 to keep the status quo. This was more like 75 per cent until the executive spoke up.”
“[It] proves the disconnect between some ministers and the grassroots and why we are having such problems.”
Some backbench MPs may rebel, and vote for the same-sex marriage bill, but any Ministers would be forced to resign, in order to vote for it.
Same-sex marriage has proven difficult in Australia, and Prime Minister Tony Abbott is a staunch opponent.
Thousands took to the streets of Australia to push for same-sex marriage, across various cities last weekend.
Rallies have already taken place this year, to push for MPs to be given a free vote on the issue.