A survey has revealed the majority of gay Britons are against a ban on gay marriage, despite reports that there is a general apathy for a change in the law.
The ComRes poll of 541 lesbian, gay and bisexual adults, commissioned by Catholic Voices, revealed that 77% believed marriage should not be exclusively for straight couples.
Findings from the report, which is not released until the weekend, were leaked to the The Daily Telegraph newspaper, which has been at the forefront of publishing articles questioning the need for equal marriage.
The paper claimed there was doubt among the gay community as to whether same-sex marriage was needed, reporting that only 39% of respondents listed it as a priority and 26% agreed that civil partnerships already gave them the same rights.
But the poll also showed 49% rejected that argument and 25% were unsure.
While 47% agreed that keeping marriage and civil partnerships separate would ‘worsen public attitudes towards gay people’ compared with 32% who disagreed.
Despite the apparent doubt cast by the some of the figures, Andy Wasley, from British gay rights group Stonewall, said the poll did show a majority support for equal marriage in the UK.
He said: ‘The poll shows three quarters of gay people agree with equal marriage in principle and most support the government’s promise to extend civil marriage to same-sex couples.
‘The question of whether it’s a priority is subjective. Some people might say that global poverty is a priority, but that obviously doesn’t alter the fact that equal marriage is a very important issue to many people.
‘There is plenty of parliamentary time for the government to push ahead with this modest step.’
The UK government’s consultation on legalizing gay marriage in England and Wales ends on 14 June.
Campaigners are urging people to complete the short official survey as a large anti-gay religious lobby has dominated submissions so far.
A separate consultation has already been run by the Scottish government, which has also committed to marriage equality and results will be published next month.