The Australian public will have the chance to vote on the legality of gay marriage on November 25, following reports that Coalition MPs have decided a postal vote will be held if the there is no support in Parliament for a traditional plebiscite.
If that fails, plan B is the non-compulsory postal vote, which the government believes would not require parliamentary approval, although lobby group Australian Marriage Equality has already threatened a legal challenge if that idea proceeds.
But MPs supported an approach that promises a decision from the electorate within months and a free vote in parliament by Christmas.
The 90-minute meeting heard from seven MPs and senators who pushed for a free vote.
So a few lawmakers deserting the ruling party on gay marriage could leave the government powerless to block the bill. They were joined by Jason Wood, from Victoria, and John Alexander, from New South Wales. Senate crossbenchers have pledged to oppose the plebiscite.
Backbencher Warren Entsch is reserving his right to cross the floor of parliament to vote against the government.
"I am disappointed for hundreds of thousands of Australians that their Prime Minister has once again let them down". "We think we should get on with it and vote with it here".
'Today the government broke the hearts of gay and lesbian people in Australia, ' The Equality Campaign's co-chair Anna Brown told media after the meeting. He wanted to bring colleagues along with him. After the debate, he called a vote on whether the party should drop its plebiscite commitment.
'In recognising the concerns that my colleagues have, I'm more than happy to go with the postal vote option, ' he told ABC radio.
When asked which he would vote in a public vote, the prime minister said he believes that anyone has the right to marry, and that he would encourage others to vote that way at the polls.
"Everyone Australian on the electoral roll will get a ballot paper and they will be able to fill that in and express their say", he said.
Labor frontbencher Terri Butler said it was disappointing the Liberal Party continued to put up more obstacles to marriage equality.
Speaking before the meeting, Senator Smith said a postal vote was useless.
Same-sex marriage could be legislated by the end of the year, despite the government resubmitting its plebiscite bill to a likely lost vote in the parliament. Forster on Monday noted to the Blade that marriage rights for same-sex couples have "broad community support and would do nothing more than bring us into line with the USA, U.K., New Zealand, Canada, Ireland and other countries" in which "same-sex marriage is legal and has had absolutely no detrimental impact".
Coalition policy is for a plebiscite on the marriage issue. Cory Bernardi, leader of the minor Australian Conservatives party, to present to the Senate.
It looks likely Australia will vote in a national postal ballot on marriage equality in November.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the outcome of the meeting was "ridiculous".
Anyway, get onto it quick smart, just in case.