NEW polling shows 71 per cent of Australians, including 64 per cent of Liberal voters, want the federal government to allow a free vote on marriage equality instead of a plebiscite.

The poll, from Galaxy Research, also shows Australians are firmly against new laws that would allow civil celebrants or businesses to refuse their services to same-sex couples on the basis of religious or personal beliefs.

It found two thirds of voters support marriage equality, with almost half in strong support.

Marriage equality advocate and just.equal spokesperson, Rodney Croome said, “This poll shows Australians want marriage equality, they want it via a free vote in Parliament and they want it to be truly equal without caveats entrenching further discrimination.

“The poll also sends a clear message that in the eyes of most Australians equal means equal and discrimination against same-sex couples in the provision of wedding services should not be allowed.

“This week we will be in Parliament alerting law-makers to the result of this poll, as well as earlier research showing the LGBTI community will not accept marriage equality legislation that is compromised by refusal-of-service provisions.”

The poll was commissioned by Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.  National spokesperson Shelley Argent said, “This increases the pressure on Malcolm Turnbull to do the right thing and allow a free vote so our sons and daughters can be treated equally under the law.

“Passing marriage equality ASAP will be a win for our children, a win for Malcolm Turnbull and a win for Australia.

“Malcolm Turnbull needs to heed the message that Australians remain firmly against a plebiscite and want marriage equality dealt with in Parliament by a free vote.

“A plebiscite would have been a platform for hate against LGBTI people and the sooner the Government admits the idea has had its day the better.”

The poll comes ahead of a Senate inquiry report into a proposed law allowing refusal of wedding services to same-sex couples, due to be released this week.

A recently released survey of 6,342 LGBTI Australians found around 90% are against proposals to allow same-sex couples to be refused wedding services, and would rather wait for marriage equality than accept it as a trade-off.

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