A new poll reveals a majority of religious people, including Catholics and other Christians, support marriage equality and will likely vote yes in the upcoming postal vote.

The poll, commissioned by the Equality Campaign, showed 58 per cent of religious people support marriage equality, News.com.au has reported.

Of religious groups, Catholics were among the most likely to vote for marriage equality.

An overwhelming 79 per cent of non-religious Australians back marriage equality.

The new figures come as the Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, last week urged Catholics to vote against marriage equality for the “health and future” of society and to protect freedom of religion.

“It could result in restrictions on the right of ministers of religion and religious bodies and organisations having the freedom to teach, preach and speak about marriage between persons of the same sex being contrary to their religious or conscientious beliefs,” he wrote in an open letter.

Hart nonetheless called for “respectful debate”, encouraging Catholics to welcome the LGBTI community as siblings.

“Like all human beings they are created in the image and likeness of God,” he wrote.

“They have a right to expect to be loved and welcomed and not subject to unjust discrimination.”

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