Demonstrators for Equal LovePrime Minister Tony Abbott has decided that instead of allowing party members a conscience vote on marriage equality, he would prefer a plebiscite or constitutional referendum to be issued to the nation instead of parliament.

Another stalling tactic has emerged from the party room. After six hours of discussion on Tuesday 11 August, Australia faces more political roadblocks in the legalisation of same-sex marriage.

The reasoning, Abbott said is that “the disposition…is that it should happen through a people’s vote rather than simply through a Parliament’s vote.” A plebiscite will not force the government to act and it will show the government what the nation already knows, that 72% of Australians support marriage equality.

It was revealed that Coalition MPs voted 66 to 33 and would not allow a conscience vote. Mr Abbott invited the Nationals, a more conservative group, to participate in the discussion on Tuesday evening, a move that now has some Liberal party members accusing the Prime Minister of branch stacking.

Parliamentary secretary Kelly O’Dwyer, who spoke in favour of a free vote, said that she is “deeply disappointed that there will not be a free vote in the current term. However, I welcome the conclusion, that this term will be the last time that Coalition members will be bound to support the existing marriage legislation.”

Victorian Liberal leader Matthew Guy believes that this move will shake the public’s confidence in federal politics.

The Greens leader, Richard Di Natale, chimed in by saying “Think of the signal that the Prime Minister’s actions send to the young people right across this country who are being told ‘you are different…the way you feel is not normal.’”

The government has yet to make a final decision on which direction they are going to head in terms of marriage equality, but it is very clear that marriage equality needs to remain in the spotlight if we want to see a change and improvement in Australian society.