A majority of Virginian voters support civil unions, not marriage, for gay and lesbian couples, a new survey found.

According to a Public Policy Polling survey released last week, a majority (53%) of respondents oppose the legalization of gay marriage, while 34 percent approve. Thirteen percent refused to answer.

When pollsters asked, “Which of the following best describes your opinion on gay marriage: gay couples should be allowed to legally marry, or gay couples should be allowed to form civil unions but not legally marry, or there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple's relationship?” support for gay marriage dropped to 31 percent.

But a majority of voters (59%) said they supported marriage (31%) or civil unions (28%) for gay couples. Thirty-eight percent said there should be no legal recognition and 3 percent refused to answer.

Democrats lead in support of gay unions with 70 percent, followed by 66% of independent and 39% of Republicans.

Six hundred Virginia voters were surveyed between December 10th to 12th, and the poll has a margin of error of 4.0 percent.

(Related: West Virginia Delegate John Doyle plans civil unions bill.)