A majority of respondents to a public inquiry by an Australian Senate committee support gay marriage.

The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee on Thursday released figures for the number of submissions to its inquiry into the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill introduced by Senator Sarah Hanson-Young of the Greens Party.

“An unprecedented number of submissions have been received for this inquiry,” the panel said in releasing its final figures.

Of the more than 75,000 submissions received, approximately 44,000 were in support of the bill, while 31,000 were opposed.

“The unprecedented level of support for this legislation reflects the fact that a majority of Australians support marriage equality and support it passionately,” Alex Greenwich of Australian Marriage Equality (AME) said in a statement.

“The take-home message for our federal politicians is that the Australian public wants this reform and wants it now,” he added.

Surveys show that between 60-65% of Australians believe gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to marry.

(Related: Julian Shaw says the time has come for Australia to embrace gay marriage.)