A new poll finds a majority of Rhode Islanders favor legalizing gay marriage.

According to a Brown University poll of 593 registered Rhode Island voters released on Thursday, 60.4 percent of respondents favor marriage equality, while 26 percent remain opposed.

Nearly 60 percent of those opposed cited religious reasons for their opposition.

The poll's results are nearly identical to a survey conducted by Brown in May, 2009.

The issue has been debated in Rhode Island for more than a decade. A marriage equality bill overwhelmingly passed the House last month and is currently before the Senate.

“An overwhelming majority of Rhode Islanders agree that in 2013 it is finally time to extend the unique protections and benefits that only marriage can afford to all loving and committed couples,” said Ray Sullivan of Rhode Islanders United For Marriage, which supports marriage equality.

Chris Plante of the local chapter of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) dismissed the poll's findings.

“It's a Brown University poll and they've always shown these numbers,” Plante said. “There's no big change in these numbers over the last 4 or 5 years.”