Labor MPs may not get a conscience vote on gay marriage

FEDERAL Labor MPs may have to vote along party lines on the gay marriage debate, depending on an outcome at the party's national conference.

And it is a move Labor MP and shadow health minister Catherine King is worried will be a distraction from the bigger issue.

Labor has previously shown its support for gay marriage. In the lead-up to the ALP's federal conference in July, there has been a push for MPs to vote with party policy and not allow a conscience vote.

"It is a bit of an anomaly that there is a conscience vote on this issue," Ms King told the ABC yesterday.

"I support gay marriage and will vote for marriage equality if asked again in the parliament and I think at some point we will have that in this country.

"But I am also a bit worried that this idea about not having a conscience vote might distract from the overall issue."

She said they would leave it for the national conference to have the debate.