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Greens push for gay marriage vote on 6 June in Australia

Only party to support marriage equality in Australia says vote will give chance for electorate to see which way their MP goes before the general election
Australian Greens MP and deputy leader Adam Bandt

The Greens party in Australia are pushing for another vote on same-sex marriage before the general election in September.

Greens MP and deputy leader Adam Bandt is campaigning for his Marriage Equality Amendment Bill to be voted on in the House of Representative on 6 June.

Last September a similar bill was voted down by 98 MPs to 42 in the house.

Whether Bandt's bill will pass depends if opposition leader Tony Abbott will allow his MPs to vote freely in a conscience vote, rather than as a block against legislation.

Abbott has not indicated that he will allow Liberal and National MPs a conscience vote. He said he is 'strongly opposed to any change' in an interview with Fairfax Media published earlier this week.

But Bandt said that even if the bill doesn't pass, it gives voters the chance to see how their MP goes on the issue in a real vote.

'Following successful votes in the New Zealand, UK, and France, this vote will ensure every MPs position is clear before the election,' Bandt said to Fairfax Media.

'Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard will have an opportunity to get behind the tide of history.'

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is opposed to gay marriage but Labor MPs are free to vote as they wish on the issue in a conscience vote.

'With Australian polls showing an increase in support since New Zealand achieved marriage equality, I am hopeful an increased number of MPs will do the right thing and throw their weight behind reform,' said Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome.

'Marriage equality has become an electorate-by-electorate issue,' said Croome in a column for Gay News Network.  

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