A survey of Irish adults says that the majority – 61 per cent – support marriage equality for gay couples.

Just 27 per cent of voters are opposed to the idea of gay marriage, the Irish Independent/Millward Brown Lansdowne research found.

As with most polls on gay marriage, younger people and women were most in favour of the change.

Twelve per cent of respondents said they did not know.

Yesterday, Fine Gael politician Lucinda Creighton complained she had received hate mail after stating her opposition to gay marriage.

The party spokeswoman for equality issues said on Twitter last week that “marriage is primarily about children, [the] main purpose being to propagate [and] create”.

Angry Twitter and Facebook users hit back, although Ms Creighton claimed there was an “orchestrated campaign” against her.

This month, two male couples had Ireland’s first civil partnerships.

The first ceremonies were not scheduled until April 1st but it is understood that one partner in each couple was terminally ill.

As in Britain, gay rights activists are pushing for full marriage equality.