Tasmanian gay rights advocates say the state Liberal Party should throw its support behind marriage equality after a new poll showed most Tasmanians supported marriage equality.

The poll, released Friday, found 61 percent of Tasmanians believed same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

It also found 54 percent believed the state should go ahead with its own marriage equality laws.

EMRS Research surveyed 1000 people and was commissioned by Australian Marriage Equality.

Eighty-five per cent of young people aged 18-34 supported the law reform, making it by far the largest group to support the change.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman Rodney Croome said the high level of support from young people showed the reform would be a defining moment for a generation of Tasmanians.

“These results vindicate Lara Gidding’s decision to move ahead on marriage equality,” Croome said.

“Tasmanians can see that we have nothing to lose and everything to gain from this landmark reform.”

Croome said the polled showed the Labor Party’s support for marriage equality would help them attract the undecided votes needed to stay in power.

“By the same token, one of the best ways for the Liberals to attract the undecided voters they need to win government is to soften their hard line against reform and grant of a conscience vote,” he said.

Last weekend, Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings announced the state Labor MPs would be given a conscience vote on marriage equality laws by the end of the year if the Federal Government failed to do so.

Some religious leaders have voiced their disappointment over the news, saying the Labor Party broke their promise not to legislate for gay marriage.

The Australian Christian Lobby’s Mark Brown warned Giddings that her decision to press ahead with gay marriage could lead to future apologies to children who “have no say in being separated from their biological parents”.

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