Marriage equality advocates in
Australia are calling on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to allow a
conscience vote on an upcoming gay marriage bill, the Australian
Broadcasting Corporation reported.
Seven months after senators shot it
down, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young reintroduced her gay marriage
bill last month. It is the first to take on Australia's Marriage
Act, removing all references to gender from the law.
Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony
Abbot oppose the measure and have said they would not allow a
conscience vote on the bill.
“Why on Earth won't the prime
minister agree to a conscience vote?” asked Independent Member of
Parliament Andrew Wilkie.
A recently released poll by Australian
Marriage Equality shows a majority of Australians (62%) support gay
marriage and a large majority (78%) want the government to allow a
conscience vote on the issue.
“I think it's virtually unexplainable
how the prime minister can be so prepared so consistently to be out
of step with the will of the people,” Wilkie added.
Hanson-Young has also urged Gillard to
allow a conscience vote on her bill.