A Gallup poll has found that 53 per cent of US respondents support giving gay couples the right to marry.

This is the first time a Gallup poll has found a majority in favour of marriage equality.

Forty-five per cent of the 1,018 respondents said gay couples should not be allowed to wed, while two per cent said they did not know.

Last year, only 44 per cent of Gallup respondents said they agreed with gay couples marrying.

In the latest poll, Republican support remained unchanged on just 28 per cent. Conversely, Democrat support for the issue increased 13 per cent and independent support rose by ten per cent.

Seventy per cent of people aged 18 to 34 support gay marriage, although among those over 55 per cent, support dropped to 39 per cent.

Evan Wolfson, the president of gay rights group Freedom to Marry, commented: “This most recent poll reaffirms that Americans have been listening and, in Lincoln’s words, ‘thinking anew’ or, as President Obama would put it ‘evolving’.

“As they’ve heard the stories of loving and committed couples harmed by the denial of marriage and the safety net it brings, their hearts have opened and minds have changed.”

The Gallup result is in line with several other recent studies.