More than six in 10 now want same-sex marriage legalised
THE majority of people want gay marriage to be legalised.
More than six out of every 10 voters believe same-sex marriages should be recognised by the State, according to the latest Irish Independent/Millward Brown Lansdowne survey.
The figures show just 27pc of voters are opposed to the idea of gay marriage.
The issue has proved hugely divisive in the past year.
Last July, President Mary McAleese signed the Civil Partnership Bill into law, in the face of protests from senior bishops.
The legislation, which came into effect last month, gives legal recognition to same-sex relationships together with a range of rights and protections including maintenance obligations, protection of a shared home, pension rights and succession.
However, some campaigners within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community have argued that the laws do not go far enough by stopping short of gay marriage.
According to the survey, 61pc of people are in favour of State recognition of gay marriage. The most vocal backers of the plans are voters aged between 18 and 24.
Three-quarters of Labour supporters also said they were in favour of the laws being extended.
There was also a large amount of support from females, 69pc of whom said they were in favour.
Two-thirds of those surveyed in Dublin said they were also behind the plans.
Just 27pc said they were opposed to the idea of gay marriage while 12pc said they did not know.
The greatest opposition came from those aged over 65, of which 54pc said they were against the idea.
There was also substantial opposition from the farming community, where 48pc are opposed.
Over one-third -- 36pc -- of Fianna Fail supporters said they were against the plans.
The poll findings came as Fine Gael TD and equality spokeswoman Lucinda Creigh-ton was last night the subject of attacks on social media forums after she indicated her opposition to gay marriage.
The Dublin South-East TD said on Twitter that she "supported the Civil Partnership Bill fully (but) I don't support gay marriage", prompting a flurry of objections.
Her mobile phone number was yesterday being circulated on Facebook, where people were encouraged to phone or text her with their protests.
Uncompromising and occasionally abusive posts opposing her views were also put on her Facebook and Twitter sites.
Responding to the criticism, Ms Creighton said she believed marriage was "primarily about children" and that civil partnership should ensure gay couples are properly recognised and treated fairly.
"But marriage is different," she tweeted.
Meanwhile, her party leader, Enda Kenny, yesterday said no less than three times that the issue of gay marriage is "not a priority" for his party should they be elected to power.