A new survey published ahead of proposed legislation to legally recognise same-sex relationships has found that more than half of Irish people would be unconcerned if their child or sibling is gay.

The Sunday Independent/Millward Brown IMS poll did find that significant proportion of people would be “concerned.”

The high figures of acceptance, 53% unconcerned about a gay child and 56% a gay sibling, highlight the growing acceptance of LGB people in a society that only decriminalised homosexuality 15 years ago.

37% said they would be concerned about a gay child and 35% a gay sibling.

Both discrimination and incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation are illegal in the Republic of Ireland.

A recent opinion poll found 84% in favour of some sort of recognition for lesbian and gay couples.

Northern Ireland, as part of the UK, has had same-sex civil partnerships since December 2005.

The Irish government is expected to bring forward proposals for a form of civil partnerships in the EU nation at the end of March.

In December Ireland’s Minister of Justice rejected the possibility of a referendum to allow gay marriage.

Brian Lenihan said civil partnership was easier to achieve, because gay marriage would require a constitutional change that would split the country.

The law should allow couples to formalise their relationships, undertake mutual rights and obligations, obtain legal protection and legal benefits for their relationships.