A new poll has found that a majority of Northern Irish people now support the right of gay and lesbian couples to get married.

According to a survey published today by the Northern Ireland Life & Times 57% of people in Northern Ireland believe that marriages between same-sex couples should be legally recognised, in the same way as opposite-sex marriages.

The survey asked the public “Do you think marriages between same-sex couples should or should not be recognised by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages?” and recorded results for men and women, different age groups and people of different religions.

Full results reveal that 57% of people surveyed support full marriage equality in Northern Ireland whilst only 32% were opposed, with 11% undecided.

Results also showed that 49% of men and 64% of women believe same-sex marriage should be legally recognised with only 37% male and 28% female responding that they disagreed.

Young people responded the most positively in the survey with 72% of 18-24 and 74% of 25-34 year olds in support of validation. Those in the age range of 65+ gave the most negative response with only 30% in support and 54% in opposition.

Interestingly when the survey looked at people of different religions there is only a one percent difference in Protestants who support (44%) and do not support (45%) same-sex marriage whilst Catholics in support came in at 65% with only 23% against. Those giving no religion overwhelmingly supported (73%) the recognition of same-sex marriage with less than a quarter (22%) not in support.

These results have been welcomed by marriage equality campaigners in Northern Ireland who have stated the survey reveals that many politicians opposed to Equal Marriage in Northern Ireland are living in the past and clearly ignorant of the diverse and positive views held by their electorate.

Last month, the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) again blocked progress on same-sex marriage legislation in the country, having effectively vetoed a motion to legalise it through a ‘petition of concern’. The motion failed with 53-42 votes against.

The proposed motion was being pushed by Sinn Fein following an overwhelming vote in favour of a referendum on legalising same-sex marriage in the Republic of Ireland.