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.