Slightly more than half of Minnesotans support gay marriage.

According to a KSTP/Survey USA Poll of 500 adults released Friday, 51 percent of Minnesotans support gay marriage, while 47 percent remain opposed. Two percent refused to answer.

Support is highest among those under the age of 35, who say such unions should be legal by 69 percent.

Majority support is also found among Democrats (66%) and independents (53%). However, 71 percent of Republicans oppose gay nuptials. Only 27 percent of Republicans support marriage equality.

Support also increases as education and income levels rise.

Democrats introduced a bill to legalize marriage for gay and lesbian couples in Minnesota following the defeat of a statewide ballot initiative in November which sought to define marriage as a heterosexual union in the Minnesota Constitution. The proposed marriage legislation has cleared House and Senate committees and awaits floor votes in both chambers.

On Thursday, Brian McClung, a former aide to Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who served two terms in office and opposes marriage equality, urged Republicans to alter course on the issue. McClung said there was a possibility of the GOP becoming irrelevant for decades.