A new poll has found that almost two thirds of Americans registered to vote oppose the Defense of Marriage Act, and that just over half support equal marriage for same-sex couples.

The new poll commissioned by the Center for American Progress and Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, and was conducted among 802 registered US voters across the country.

The results of the poll found that 59% of respondents were against Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from granting benefits and protections to legally married same-sex couples.

The poll also found that 52% of respondents were in favour of equal marriage, with 43% against reports Queerty.

62% of those asked agreed with the statement: “it is discrimination for the federal government to deny marriage protections and benefits to legally married same-sex couples,” with 34% disagreeing and 4% remaining unsure.

The poll found that some voters who were opposed to equal marriage still believed that if same-sex marriages were legal in their home state, they would expect the federal government to recognise their unions.

Winnie Stachelberg, the Executive Vice President of the Center for American Progress said she hoped the Supreme Court would take the poll on board when considering cases against the Defense of Marriage Act before their term ends in June.

“The findings of this poll should provide significant headwinds to LGBT advocates and allies and demonstrate to the Court that the thinking behind DOMA is outdated and indefensible,” Ms Stachelberg said.

Mary Bonauto, the GLAD Civil Rights Director said: “It’s not surprising that a majority of this country now believes that loving, committed couples in legal marriages should be treated fairly under federal law,” she said. “It’s time for our laws to catch up with where public opinion is on abolishing DOMA.”

The poll also found that 78% of respondents  thought that married gay couples should not be denied “being able to visit your spouse or child in the hospital or ride with them in an ambulance in an emergency.” 

“Family and medical leave” should not be denied by the government, said 71% of voters, and “survivor benefits if a spouse is killed in the line of duty as a police officer, fire, fighter or state trooper”, said 70%.

69% of people said that the government should not deny health insurance benefits covering spouses or children, or protections and benefits for military spouses