A majority of Australians support giving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

According to the latest Nielson poll, nearly sixty percent of Australians are supportive of The Greens' efforts to legalize gay marriage.

Twenty-three percent of people surveyed said they strongly support the institution's legalization, while thirty-three percent said they support it.

Sixteen percent said they were opposed and twenty-one percent said they were strongly opposed. Five percent of respondents said they neither supported or opposed it and one percent said they didn't know.

Greens leader Bob Brown said the poll showed that there is widespread support for marriage equality in Australia.

β€œI confidently predict we will see an end to discrimination and the marriage laws during this period of government,” he said.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said she will not allow a conscience vote on an upcoming gay marriage bill, sponsored by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. Without her endorsement, Labor lawmakers are required to vote the party line and against the measure.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott also opposes gay marriage.

β€œIt's Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott, the leaders of our country, who are falling well behind [on the issue],” Hanson-Young said.