Maine will become the first state to legalize gay marriage through the ballot box this fall, according to a new survey.

Supporters have returned the issue to the ballot box after voters in 2009 narrowly repealed a gay marriage law approved by lawmakers with a “people's veto,” known as Question 1.

The Public Polling Policy survey released on Wednesday found a majority (54%) of Maine voters think that gay marriage should be legal, while 41 percent think it should not.

“And when we asked about the issue using the exact language voters will see on the ballot this fall, they say they're inclined to support the referendum by a 47-32 margin,” pollsters said in reporting their findings.

Support for the institution among Democrats has increased 7 percentage points since 2009, from 71 percent to 78 percent. Support has also grown among independents, from 52 percent to 57 percent. Republican support, however, remains where it was three years ago.

The poll comes on the heels of last week's announcement that the Diocese of Maine will not campaign against the referendum. Instead, the Roman Catholic church will teach Catholics about how it defines marriage.