Over half of 18 to 39 year olds in Australia back a civil union law for same sex couples, according to a poll.

The survey by ACNielsen/Age found that 45% of Australians supported the recently quashed ACT law, while 34% opposed it.

Of this number, 56% of 19 to 39 year olds pledged support, compared to 48% of 40 to 53 year olds and 29% of people over 55.

The results suggest the Federal Governments decision to overturn the ACT legislation was not so widely supported.

The Federal Government overturned an ACT law allowing civil unions for gay couples last week, despite an initial willingness to consider it, Attorney General Philip Ruddock stated that it would be against the Federal Marriage Act as it is too similar to marriage and fails to take heed of the government’s concerns.

The Australian Senate was unable to overrule the decision.

Prime Minister John Howard said, “We are not prepared to accept something which is a plain attempt to equate civil unions with marriage.”