A new poll has revealed that at least half of the registered voters in Delaware would support legislation that gives marriage rights to same-sex couples.

The poll was commissioned by Equality Delaware, the same advocacy group that helped to pass the state’s civil union bill in 2011.

It is anticipated that a bill to allow same-sex marriage in the state will be introduced in the General Assembly this spring. 

The public affairs and research firm, Global Strategy Group, conducted the poll from 12-14 February and included phone interviews with 603 registered Delaware voters who were at least 18-years-old.

The poll revealed that 54% of Delaware voters favoured legislation granting same-sex marriage whereas only 37% opposed it.

Support was highest amongst Democrats (65%) and independents (61%).

The president of Equality Delaware, Lisa Goodman said: “What this poll shows is that Delawareans, like the majority of Americans, believe in marriage equality.

“And as we’ve seen from the recent movement of marriage bills through the House in Rhode Island and the Senate in Illinois, other states are moving toward marriage.”

However, Nicole Theis of the Delaware Family Policy Council claimed that the poll was inaccurate because people were not informed of the repercussions of “genderless” marriage.

She said: “Polling on this issue is skewed because of how the issue is framed in the poll.

“We have found that if those polled are informed of how genderless marriage impacts education, parental rights, and how it changes the way the state treats parenting in general, most are not supportive of changing the definition of marriage.”

Delaware was the eighth state to give same-sex couples the right to civil unions.