The first US census figures on gay marriage have revealed that nearly 150,000 same-sex couples in the country see themselves as married.

There are thought to be 564,743 gay couples in the US and according to a Census Bureau tally, 27 per cent describe themselves as being in a relationship the same as straight married couples.

It is thought that there was around 100,000 officially-recognised gay weddings, civil unions and domestic partnerships in 2008.

Although gay couples can currently marry in four American states – Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont and Connecticut – only Connecticut and Massachusetts allowed them to wed in 2008.

Gay marriage is legal in Maine but has been put on hold as a referendum is to be held on the issue in November.

In New Hampshire, it comes into law on January 1st 2010.

It was briefly legal in California before being overturned by the state’s voters last autumn.

In 2010, the US Census will count gay marriages, unions and partnerships for the first time.