Advocates support Smith’s bill, which forces Coalition to resolve whether to allow a conscience vote in parliament

Five Liberal MPs released an unprecedented joint statement in support of Dean Smith’s marriage equality bill, attracting overwhelming support from advocates as the Liberal party prepared for a bruising debate in a special party room meeting.

But the outcome of the issue remains in play, as Malcolm Turnbull is under pressure from supporters to allow a free vote and opponents urge him to stick to the policy of a plebiscite.

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