Nearly two-thirds of British people support plans to introduce gay marriage, according to a poll published on Thursday which showed growing backing for the reform.
Some 62 per cent of those questioned for the poll in the Guardian newspaper said same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, against 31 per cent who oppose the change and seven per cent who were undecided.
The poll also showed that a majority of supporters of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party back the change.
Cameron has been a strong supporter of the legislation despite opposition from Conservative backbench lawmakers.
Some 52 per cent of those who voted Conservative in 2010 backed gay marriage, against 42 per cent who opposed it.
The poll showed stronger support for gay marriage than previous surveys, including a poll in March which found 45 per cent in favour and 36 per cent opposed.
The coalition government is committed to legislating on gay marriage by the 2015 general election, and a bill is expected to be submitted next month.
It says it will not force religious bodies to carry out services and the new law will make it illegal for the Church of England and its counterpart in Wales to offer ceremonies.
The leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, used his Christmas Day message to denounce the plans as “shambolic”.
The ICM Research poll interviewed 1,002 adults on December 19-23.