A new poll suggests residents of New Jersey overwhelmingly favour allowing gay couples to marry.

According to the Zogby poll, released late week, 63% of New Jersey voters would not be upset if the state’s Legislature upgraded its recently enacted civil unions law to allow for full marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Just 31% of those surveyed said they would be upset by such a change.

Additionally, 72% of those polled said the state’s lawmakers would not jeopardise their chances for re-election should they support marriage equality.

21% indicated the opposite, saying such a vote may cause them to re-think their support of lawmakers who favour marriage equality.

61% of those polled said they believe New Jersey will allow gay couples to marry within a few years regardless of their personal beliefs (29% felt otherwise).

Garden State Equality commissioned the survey to mark the six-month anniversary of the state’s civil unions law.

“Regardless of whether any public official supports marriage equality or wants to maintain the state’s failed civil unions law, no official in New Jersey can credibly say that marriage for gay couples is a divisive issue in the state,” Steven Goldstein, chairman of the gay rights group, told the Associated Press late last week.

“Even voters who oppose marriage equality are ready to accept an upgrade of the state’s civil unions law to real marriage equality,” he added.

© 2007 GayBusinessWorld.com; All Rights Reserved.