Equal marriage advocates have welcomed a poll which puts public support for allowing gay couples to marry at 73%.

The poll, by Red C, showed nearly three quarters of those asked said they would agree with the statement: “Same sex marriage should be allowed in the Constitution”.

The results were presented to Ireland’s Oireachtas yesterday in a report prepared for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on the last Constitutional referendum.

Kieran Rose, Chair of Ireland’s Gay and Lesbian Equality Network said: “The poll confirms the openness of Irish people and their support for further critically important progress to achieving equality for lesbian and gay people.

“GLEN’s goal, and that of lesbian and gay people, is access to civil marriage which is the only option that will achieve equality of status with opposite-sex couples and which would underpin a wider equality for lesbian and gay people.” said Rose

“The proposed Constitutional Convention provides the opportunity to build on the progress of Civil Partnership and provide constitutional protection for our relationships. It also offers a very important opportunity to protect all families equally, including lesbian and gay headed families.

1005 people were polled ahead of a Constitutional Convention which will consider giving couples equal marriage rights.

Moninne Griffith, Marriage Equality’s Director said: “The results of today’s Red C poll are vitally important.

“It shows that not only are Irish people in favour of marriage equality, but they are also in favour of its inclusion in our Constitution. That is a huge step forward in our work to achieve equality for same-sex couples and families all over Ireland.”

“We will be engaging fully with the Constitutional Convention and we look forward to engaging in debate with the members of the Convention, and other stakeholders, as to how marriage equality can be introduced as quickly as possible.

“With 73% of the population in favour of allowing marriage equality in the Constitution, the Irish people are clearly ready for marriage equality.”

Marriage Equality said the level of support for lifting the ban on gay marriages had grown from 56% in 2008.