Delegates at the Young Liberals federal conference held in Tasmania last week have passed a motion for a conscience vote on marriage equality.
Gay marriage activists believe it will increase pressure on federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to allow Coalition MPs to vote according to their personal beliefs.
The motion at the conference in Hobart came from the Victorian division and votes in favour of a conscience vote gained two-thirds support before being passed .
“Support from the Young Liberals highlights how important this issue is to young Australians and how it is consistent with Liberal values,” Australian Marriage Equality national convenor Rodney Croome said.
“The Young Liberal motion increases pressure on Tony Abbott to include a conscience vote in this year’s Coalition election platform and adds to growing pressure for a conscience vote from within the Coalition and from within Mr Abbott’s own family.
“If the Coalition is to maximise its vote, particularly among young people, it cannot afford to maintain its blanket opposition to this inevitable and popular reform.”
The East Sydney branch of the Liberal Party and the NSW Young Nationals have also endorsed a conscience vote, as have a number of high-profile Coalition members including Joe Hockey, George Brandis, Christopher Pyne, Greg Hunt, Malcolm Turnbull, Barry O’Farrell, Simon Birmingham, Barnaby Joyce, Russell Broadbent, former Howard government minister Amanda Vanstone, and Tony Abbott’s sister and Sydney councillor Christine Forster.