As Republican senators in the US prepare to introduce another constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage across the nation, a poll has found Americans don’t think the issue should be made a priority.

A national survey found that out of a list of issues facing the US government, banning same-sex marriage was ranked last. Issues more important to the respondents included Iraq, rising petrol prices, health care and immigration reforms.

A majority of respondents, 63 percent, had strong concerns about amending the constitution over the issue of marriage. Only 18 percent felt it should be a priority for Congress.

The Federal Marriage Amendment does not rank on the list of voters’ priorities anywhere near where one might expect, Samantha Smoot from gay lobby group Human Rights Campaign said, The Advocate reported.

The poll, conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates for the Human Rights Campaign, surveyed 802 registered voters across the US last month.

Fifty-three percent of respondents were in favour of banning same-sex marriage, but only 43 precent wanted to ban both marriage and civil unions, which the proposed amendment would do.

Republican senators Bill Frist and Rick Santorum plan to take their Federal Marriage Amendment to a Senate vote in the first week of June.

A previous attempt in 2004 by the Bush government to amend the constitution to ban same-sex marriage failed in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate.

In the last few months conservative religious groups have been rallying the government to make the amendment and threatened to desert the Republican Party if it’s not passed.

Just two weeks ago 50 Catholic bishops, Jewish leaders and other church heads signed a petition calling for a marriage amendment to the constitution.

It was the first time the Catholic church had officially been involved in the push to ban same-sex marriage, and they were encouraging their congregations to send millions of postcards to the White House calling for a ban.

However, the survey found 69 percent of Catholic respondents were concerned about amending the constitution.

It also showed that overall support for civil unions had risen four percent in the last two years to 40 percent. Twenty-five percent supported same-sex marriage.

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