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National News

Soccer, rugby fans back same-sex marriage

Rugby and soccer fans have emerged as the strongest supporters of the stand taken by major sporting organisations to back the push to allow same-sex marriage in Australia.

The decision by 36 the country's big sports organisations including the AFL, NRL, Football Federation of Australia and Cricket Australia to throw their weight behind same-sex marriage sparked a backlash among some fans and commentators.

But a poll of more than 1,000 people by YouGov and Monash University found 56 per cent believed the major sports bodies were right to support the 'yes' campaign.

Three quarters of rugby fans and 71 per cent of soccer fans backed the stand taken by the sporting groups, with more than 60 per cent of cricket, NRL and AFL fans also agreeing.

Former Wallaby David Pockock, a long-time supporter of same-sex marriage, said the results demonstrated sport had an important role to play in conversations about social issues.

"I think we are starting to see a real shift in society around issues of diversity and inclusion," he said.

"I'm hopeful that when the results come out on Wednesday we will see a very clear majority of Australians supporting marriage equality and it can finally be written into law in Australia."

Erik Dension, lead researcher at Monash University's Sport Inclusion Project, was initially surprised by the level of support among sports fans for the stand taken by the sports bodies.

"If you looked only at the social media accounts of the major sports, such as the AFL or ARU, it seemed like there was a very strong backlash from fans," he said.

"It appears, from this research, that the many negative social media comments are not reflective of the views of the majority of sports fans."

However, the YouGov poll also highlighted a generational split on whether or not the major sports organisations should have backed the same-sex marriage campaign.

While 71 per cent of millennials backed the sports bodies, 57 per cent of baby boomers thought it was the wrong move.

Details from the poll have been released on the eve of results being announced from the government's same-sex marriage survey at 10am AEDT on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a Newspoll published on Tuesday points to a clear win for the 'yes' vote when the result of the federal government's same-sex marriage postal survey is released on Wednesday.

Of those who took part in the survey, 63 per cent said they voted 'yes' while 37 per cent voted 'no', according to the The Australian.

© AAP 2017

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