The Australian government has announced that it will delay a referendum on whether marriage rights should be extended to gay and lesbian couples.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull vowed in May to hold the non-binding public vote before the end of the year if his Coalition remained in power.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the vote, called a plebiscite, is being pushed back to February.

“The government has always said that a decision on same-sex marriage will be made by a vote of all Australians in a national plebiscite to be held as soon as practicable,” a government spokesman said.

“That commitment has not changed. Late last week, the AEC [Australian Electoral Commission] provided advice to the Special Minister of State that strongly recommended against the conduct of a plebiscite this calendar year.”

A large majority of Australians support marriage equality, according to polls.

Opponents of the vote argue that its $160 million price tag is not justified given that it would not legalize such unions in the nation. However, the government has promised to abide by its outcome.