Australian prime minister Julia Gillard may allow free vote on gay marriage

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Australian prime minister Julia Gillard will allow Labor MPs a conscience vote on gay marriage, reports say.

According to the Australian Daily Telegraph, government sources said she will state her position at some point next week.

Ms Gillard is on the record as opposed to marriage equality and sources said this did not mean she has changed her view.

In the past, she has said Labor MPs will not be allowed a conscience vote on the issue if it is debated in parliament.

The party will debate the issue at its December conference.

Labor’s Queensland, Tasmania, West Australia, South Australia, Victoria, ACT and Northern Territory branches have all passed motions in support of marriage equality.

A poll released today suggested that support for marriage equality could net Labor a five per cent swing in its favour.

The study, commissioned by Australian Marriage Equality found that just under half of Australian Greens voters and a third of younger voters would be more likely to support Labor if it allowed gay couples to wed.

Last week, South Australia’s outgoing premier Mike Rann called for full marriage equality.

He said that the status quo was “discrimination” and that civil unions are a “halfway house”.