Federal Election 2016: Labor ramps up pressure on same-sex marriage plebiscite

The Federal Opposition is increasing pressure on the Coalition over its plans to hold a plebiscite on same-sex marriage, but there is uncertainty about Labor's approach if Malcolm Turnbull wins the July 2 election.

Key points:

Labor promises to legalise same-sex marriage

Labor against "costly plebiscite"

Bill Shorten says plebiscite a "taxpayer-funded platform for homophobia"

Labor has promised a vote in Federal Parliament to legalise same-sex marriage within its first 100 days of winning office.

It is opposed to the Coalition's planned plebiscite, first introduced by former prime minister Tony Abbott with a projected cost of $160 million.

In a post on Facebook, Mr Shorten said it would be more appropriate for Parliament to determine the issue directly, instead of a costly plebiscite that some groups have warned could lead to an ugly public debate.

"In modern Australia no-one should have to justify their sexuality or their love to anyone else," he said.

"And under Labor, instead of providing a taxpayer-funded platform for homophobia, Parliament will do its job and deliver marriage equality within 100 days."

The statement echoed remarks in Sunday's campaign launch in Western Sydney.

It followed comments by South Australian Senator Penny Wong on Tuesday night, who said she opposed the idea of a plebiscite because she didn't want her family to be the subject "of censure, of condemnation by others".

Competing paths to marriage equality

"Not one straight politician advocating a plebiscite on marriage equality knows what that is like. What it is like to live with the casual and deliberate prejudice that some still harbour," Senator Wong said.

Treasurer Scott Morrison responded on Wednesday, saying some people of very strong religious views had been subject to "quite dreadful hate speech and bigotry" as a result of the debate.

It remains unclear whether Labor would specifically oppose a vote in Parliament to establish a plebiscite if the Coalition wins power on July 2 and follows through with its plans.

Mr Turnbull on Monday defended sticking to the idea of a plebiscite, saying while his preference would have been a free vote in Parliament, a traditional cabinet government required "compromise".

He said he expected a plebiscite would be held by the end of the year if the enabling legislation passed through Parliament.

Source: ABC News

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