Responding to a new poll showing more Virginians support gay marriage than oppose it, Governor Bob McDonnell defended the state's constitutional ban.

A survey released Tuesday by The Washington Post found 47 percent of Virginians support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, while 43% remain opposed.

But McDonnell, a Republican, insisted the matter was settled.

“The people of Virginia have spoken by a margin of 57-43,” McDonnell said on a conference call with reporters from Shanghai. “They’ve already enshrined in the Virginia Constitution that gay marriage is not permitted, so unless there is another effort to change the Constitution, that matter is settled. That is the law of the land and, look, reasonable people can disagree on these things. That’s what the law is now. That’s something that I support. That was the right decision.”

Virginia's constitutional amendment was approved in 2006.

According to three nationwide polls, a majority of Americans narrowly support marriage equality. A Washington Post-ABC News survey released in March found 53 percent of Americans in favor of gay marriage, while 43 percent remain opposed. That is a 17 point increase in support over the last five years.

Gay marriage supporters in the state lamented the fact that increasing support on the issue was unlikely to prompt repeal.

“We knew that public opinion was evolving,” Claire Guthrie Gastanaga, a spokeswoman for Equality Virginia, told the paper. “You end up leaving us in a posture where the public has moved and the policymakers haven't and won't.”