A survey has found rising support for gay marriage in Australia.

The research, commissioned by Australian Marriage Equality (AME), showed that 60 per cent of those questioned are in favour of same-sex marriage, compared with 57 per cent two years ago.

Peter Furness of AME said the results challenged prime minister Kevin Rudd’s view that the public did not want gay marriage.

He said: “Clearly, Australians believe marriage is first and foremost about love and commitment, not your partner’s gender.

“This poll scuttles the only rationale put forward by the Rudd government for opposing equality, namely that a majority of Australians believe marriage should only be between a man and a woman.”

The poll questioned 1,110 voters on their attitudes to gay marriage.

Women were more likely to be in favour, with 68 per cent supporting gay marriage compared to 53 per cent of men.

Younger voters showed much higher support than older voters.

Of those aged 16 to 24, 74 per cent agreed with same sex marriage. This dropped to 71 per cent for those aged 25 to 34, 68 per cent of those aged 35 to 49 and 45 per cent for those aged over 50.