The Australian government refuses to allow lawmakers a free vote on the issue of same-sex marriage.
According to Washington Post, lawmakers of the ruling conservative coalition voted to maintain the party’s position that marriage should only be lawful between a man and a woman.
After the snap meeting late Tuesday night, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced there was strong support among his MPs to keep the traditional definition of marriage, ABC News reported.
“It was roughly 60:30, 60 supporting the existing position, 30 saying there should be a free vote,” Abbott said.
ABC News quoted Abbott saying, “Going into the next election, we will finalize another position.”
The prime minister offered the next parliament MPs to either get a free vote or allow the public to vote on gay marriage if his government retains power in upcoming elections.
“The disposition of the party room this evening [Tuesday] is that our position going into the next election should be that in a subsequent term of parliament, this is a matter that should rightly be put to the Australian people,” he said.
Abbott’s Liberal Party and his right-wing coalition partner, the National Party of Australia, are against same-sex marriage, BBC noted.
Abbott called the meeting on Tuesday ahead of same-sex marriage bill coming before parliament next week.
Liberal MP Warren Entsch is set to present a bill to the Parliament on Monday that would allow same-sex union across Australia. However, the bill will not pass without a free vote, according to Washington Post.
“I have to concede however that given Tuesday’s decision, the likelihood of failure – should it come to a vote – is assured,” ABC News quoted Entsch.
The lawmaker said he was not angry with the party’s decision but admitted that he was disappointed with the outcome of the six-hour meeting, ABC News added.