Liberal MPs push same-sex marriage vote

File photo Source: AAP

Liberal Party MPs in support of same-sex marriage are reportedly working to bring the issue to a head in the next fortnight, sparking a backlash from opponents.

Tensions have flared within federal government ranks over a push by some Liberal MPs for the party to abandon its policy for a national plebiscite on same-sex marriage.

A group of Liberals in support of same-sex marriage are working to bring the issue to a head in the next fortnight, calling on the government to ditch its plebiscite policy in favour of a free vote in parliament.

The backbenchers argue once the proposed plebiscite date passes and a Senate inquiry into the bill is handed down in mid-February, the Liberal partyroom should debate same-sex marriage again.

However, several conservatives have pushed back, with Sydney Liberal MP Craig Kelly arguing allowing a free vote would be a "betrayal" of the coalition's election commitment to hold a plebiscite.

"To backtrack and reverse on such a clear election promise during this parliamentary term would be a betrayal of the voting public," he told AAP on Saturday.

"If an election promise is broken and the Marriage Act is changed and the public denied a plebiscite, same-sex marriage will always remain a divisive issue without acceptance from a large portion of the population."

Mr Kelly said the government should reintroduce the plebiscite to parliament and try to convince the Senate to support it.

"And if the Senate continues to act as a house of blockage during this entire term, we then, in the lead up to the next election, articulate clearly what our policy will be during the next term of government for the public to consider next time they vote."

The backbenchers in support of same-sex marriage hope to bring the issue to a vote this year - possibly as soon as March - to deal with it long before the next federal election, Fairfax Media reports.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten threw his support behind the renewed push for a free vote, calling on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to "get on with it".

"Australians are telling me loud and clear, 'Bill, we just want the politicians to stop squabbling and get on with the issues'," he told reporters in Melbourne on Saturday.

"I say to Malcolm Turnbull let's just get on with marriage equality, there is no reason for delay.

Liberal MP Warren Entsch, one of the Coalition's leading advocates of same-sex marriage, said he would negotiate privately with colleagues to deal with the issue "once and for all".

"The plebiscite was imposed on us by others but I gave it my best shot to get it over the line," he told Fairfax.

"I have done everything I can to support the plebiscite - more than some who say they are in favour of it - but it's not going to happen."

Crossbench Senator Derryn Hinch also weighed in on the debate.

"What a fair and sensible 'betrayal' that would be PM. Bring it on," he tweeted.

Source AAP

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