The Star Observer understands that Prime Minister Julia Gillard has deferred plans to announce her support for a conscience vote on same-sex marriage after being embarrassed by a report in this paper that she would make the announcement this week.

Last week a senior federal ALP source revealed to the Star Observer that Gillard was planning to announce she would allow a conscience vote on same-sex marriage in an effort to short-circuit debate at the ALP National Conference in Sydney in December.

The debate would still occur but the source said Gillard believed that pre-empting the outcome would take the wind out of the sails of any decision made by the conference.

The source said Gillard knew she didn’t have the votes at conference to prevent marriage equality from being added to the ALP national platform, which would put her at odds with her own party on the issue.

Gillard is still expected to announce her support for a conscience vote on the issue in the near future.

A vote to legalise same-sex marriage would lose if Labor MPs were given a conscience vote as Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has refused to give Coalition MPs a conscience vote on the issue.

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