Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has pledged to introduce legislation to legalise same-sex marriage if he wins government.
The compromise deal came after hours of negotiation between ALP factions at Labor Party’s national conference today.
MPs would be bound to vote for marriage equality, but not until after the next two elections.
“Marriage equality is a simple overdue change that sends a powerful message,” Mr Shorten told the conference.
“I promise that within 100 days of a Labor government being elected that I lead, I shall move in the parliament of Australia for marriage equality for Australians.
“What the Labor Party does with this resolution is we lay down the challenge to Mr Abbott and his Liberals – please give your Members of Parliament a free vote so we can make marriage equality a reality now,” he said.
Deputy leader Tanya Plibersek had been pushing for a binding vote but seconded Mr Shorten’s motion.
“I still hope we can have marriage equality by Christmas, but if this Parliament doesn’t pass marriage equality a Shorten-Labor government will within its first 100 days,” she said.
It is a face-saving move for Mr Shorten, who backs a conscience vote on the issue.