In a blow to the opponents of equality, the results of this year’s government consultation show 53% are in favour of the introduction of equal marriage.

The results have been released as part of the government’s official response to the consultation exercise.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller has confirmed that full marriage equality will be introduced for gay couples living in England and Wales next year.

Despite a vociferous campaign by anti-equality opponents, with more than 500,000 people signing a petition against the measure, the results of the consultation show more than half of individual respondents support the introduction of marriage rights for gay couples.

The consultation was launched on 15 March 2012.

It ran for 13 weeks and closed on 14 June 2012 and received more than 228,000 individual responses, which is the largest ever to a government consultation.

53% were in favour of the proposal to allow same-sex couples to get married, 46% were against, and 1% responded either ‘don’t know’ or ‘not sure’.

Additionally, the government received a number of petitions, totalling more than 500,000 signatures, all opposed to the reform.