Washington state voters continue to reject gay marriage even after ratifying a law that recognizes gay and lesbian couples with domestic partnerships, a new poll found.

The survey by the University of Washington found only 41% of respondents in favor of gay marriage, a figure lower than the national average.

In the survey, pollsters asked 1,252 registered voters how gay couples should be recognized. Forty-one percent answered with marriage, 23% said give them all the rights but not marriage, while another 14% said gay couples should only be entitled to limited rights. A small minority, 19%, said they should not be offered any legal recognition.

The poll comes 7 months after voters ratified a domestic partnership law approved by lawmakers that gives gay and lesbian couples all the state-provided rights, benefits and responsibilities of marriage, except the name. Voters agreed to keep the domestic partnership law after gay rights opponents put it up for a vote.

In Iowa, where the state Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2009, a majority of Iowans (53%) say they support the ruling. Similar trends can be found in other states that have extended marriage to gay couples.

Nationwide polls show Americans support gay marriage in higher numbers. A recent Gallup poll found support for the institution up 4 percentage points from last year to 44%.

In explaining the results, Josh Friedes, executive director of Equal Rights Washington, told the Huffington Post that the challenge ahead is convincing people to move from supporting domestic partnerships with all the rights of marriage to marriage.

“Now our challenge is to help this 23% of voters understand that it is impossible to provide the rights and benefits of marriage to Washington's gay and lesbian citizens without providing marriage itself,” Friedes said.

He also added that without marriage gay and lesbian couples would not be able “to make progress towards important federal protections.”