Support for same sex unions in the Republic of Ireland is growing, a new report shows.

The survey revealed that 51 per cent of the population backed civil unions for gays and lesbians while 33 per cent believe that same-sex couples should have access to full civil partnerships.

The Lansdowne Market Research study confirmed a continued growth in support in Ireland for legal recognition for same-sex relationships. In surveys in February 51 per cent, and in October, 64 per cent supported legal recognition.

It comes as Irish lesbian couple Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan are currently awaiting a High Court decision on the status of their Canadian marriage in Ireland.

Keith O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer of GLEN, stated: “We are delighted to see that Irish people appreciate that same-sex couples are living in long-term relationships and deserve public recognition and protection for their relationships. GLEN is seeking equality in marriage for lesbian and gay couples with equality in rights and responsibilities.”

Earlier this year Taoiseach Bertie Ahern insisted his government is committed to same sex union legislation by the next election

Kieran Rose, Chairman of GLEN said: “Irish people have experienced significant change in recent years. They have largely managed that change because they have taken an open minded approach. We believe that failure to recognise marriage for same-sex couples is a relic of the past.

“Attitudes are now more open and most people accept that recognising a stable and loving relationship, same-sex or otherwise, is simply the right thing to do. The government should now enact legislation to provide for equality in civil marriage for same-sex couples.”