OUTSPOKEN marriage equality supporter Queensland Coalition Senator Sue Boyce has said her party would likely allow a conscience vote on the issue later this year.

The senator, who will be leaving Federal Parliament when the new Senate forms in July, told News Corp that she believed there was now enough support within the Liberal Party to vote alongside Labor and the Greens and pass marriage equality legislation.

Boyce, who delivers her valedictory speech in parliament later today, said that she believed Prime Minister Tony Abbott would allow a conscience vote within the Liberal Party.

“I would be reasonably confident that we will get to the situation by the end of the year that the Liberal Party will allow a conscience vote on (gay marriage),” she said.

“On that basis, I would expect any legislation would come before parliament quickly soon after that and it would get voted on.”

The senator, who teamed with Labor and Greens Senators Louise Pratt and Sarah-Hanson Young to form a cross-party working group on marriage equality in December last year, said that she had respect for the Prime Minister but urged him not to allow the party to become “like the [US] Republicans”.

Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome has thanked Boyce for her support and called on other Coalition MPs in favour of equality to follow her lead and push for a conscience vote.

“We thank Sue Boyce for being a courageous supporter of marriage equality and for using her final speech to acknowledge the growing support for the reform in Coalition ranks,” he said.

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