AUSTRALIAN Marriage Equality has urged supporters to phone federal MPs following reports that an important marriage equality bill has been temporarily shelved.

NSW Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm had plans to introduce his Freedom to Marry bill this week, but according to The Australian, Liberal and Labor MPs pleaded put it on hold because of “wrong’’ timing.

However, Leyonhjelm said he was still committed to introducing the bill “in a matter of weeks or months, not years”, but wanted to achieve it with as much bipartisan support as possible.

“Both sides of politics have suggested to me that timing this week is not optimum at the ­moment and if I want to win, rather than just do something symbolic, I need to wait,” he told The Australian.

“I’m not interested in symbolism — I want to win.

“Because I’m new, I need to ­accept that advice and I will delay it until the timing is better.”

In response, Australian Marriage Equality urged supporters to make the most of the delay by lobbying their local MPs, especially with phone calls.

“In particular, we must urge Coalition members to support a conscience vote on the issue once Senator Leyonhjelm’s bill is introduced,” AME national director Rodney Croome saud.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Coalition party recognise marriage as between a man and a woman in their policy platform, but Abbott has previously said it would be up to his partyroom if that position changed to one of a conscience vote.

RELATED: The need for a logical approach on marriage equality — Opinion 

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