A survey released Thursday found that a large majority of Germans support broadening the nation's marriage laws to include gay and lesbian couples.

The YouGov poll found that 68 percent of German voters support marriage equality, a 3 percentage point increase from last year's poll.

Germany has since 2001 recognized the unions of gay couples with civil partnerships.

Chancellor Angela Merkel last year reiterated her opposition to allowing gay couples to marry, saying in an interview that while she supports civil partnerships, marriage “is the coexistence between a man and a woman”

(Related: Angela Merkel remains opposed to gay marriage.)

Thursday's survey found Merkel, the leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), to be out of step with her voter base. Sixty-one percent of Christian Democrats told pollsters they support marriage equality.