A new poll has shown that, since approving a constitutional ban on equal marriage in 2004, more than half of residents of the US state of Ohio now support equal marriage.

The Saperstein Poll for The Dispatch, has shown that 54% of Ohio voters are in support of new measures to repeal the ban, and to “allow two consenting adults to marry, regardless of their gender.”

The percentage of those opposed to the proposal has fallen to 40%. The proposed amendment would preserve religious freedom to choose who they will or will not marry, and wil protect those which refuse to marry a couple.

While a majority of Ohioans now support the measure, it has still been met with fierce religious opposition.

Martin D Saperstein, the head of the firm which conducted the poll, said the protection of religious freedom was important because those measures  “ameliorate the concerns that some people may have, like is this going to be forced on me, or forced on my church.”

He attributed the shift to younger Ohio voters, the majority of whom support equal marriage, to having grown to voting age.

“Part of that comes as the media make gay people look more common,” Saperstein said.

He claimed that 60% of episodes of house hunting television shows feature gay couples. He said: “You would think 15 years ago that might be scandalous, but now it’s not even mentioned.”

The poll was conducted by telephone by Saperstein Associates, of 1,003 random Ohio adults from 5 to 10 march. The margin of error was 3.1%, and the response rate was 28%.

Equal marriage advocacy group FreedomOhio hopes to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot for Ohio later this year or next, which would remove the 2004 amendment which banned equal marriage.

In 2004, the amendment banning equal marriage passed with 62% of voters supporting,

Greg Schulz, a key player in Obama’s reelection campaign, recently joined the executive committee of FreedomOhio. 

The Supreme Court will tomorrow begin to consider an appeal against The Defense of Marriage Act, urged on by President Obama and even Bill Clinton, the former President who signed DOMA into US law.

As well as the appeal on DOMA this month, the Supreme Court will also consider overturning Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage in California.

Several polls released recently have found that support for equal marriage in the US has shifted greatly, and is an at all time high.