The leader of Ireland’s Labour Party is facing a revolt amongst members over his stance on same sex marriage.

Pat Rabbitte, who leads the Republic of Ireland’s opposition party, has raised concern after telling a Labour Youth conference that he supported same sex marriage but doubted whether now is the right time to back it in a referendum.

Labour Equality Group chairman Ritchie Keane has reportedly told Mr Rabbitte that officials may resign if he doesn’t fully support the unions soon.

Mr Keane told the Sunday Business Post: ”Why would we have a separate code for straight couples and for gay couples? Equality should be applied across the board.”

A recent survey by the Sunday Tribune and Millward Brown showed increasing support for gay and lesbian couples having the same legal and financial rights as married couples.

The survey revealed that nearly two thirds of voters (64 per cent) support equality in civil marriage for gays and lesbians.

In April, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern insisted his government is committed to legislation on gay unions. by the next election

Meanwhile the Irish Green Party has also backed gay marriages, and Fine Gael is known to support civil partnerships.