UNITED NATIONS (TIP): “Should Society Accept Homosexuality?” A global Pew Research Centre survey was released June 4, finding a wide variety of regional opinion on the question. Pew found that generally more positive attitudes were observed amongst younger people, and that in countries where a gender gap was observed, women tended to be more accepting than men. The survey polled nearly forty thousand people in 39 countries, asking questions about religion, age and gender.
Senior Researcher at Pew Global Attitudes Juliana Menasce Horowitz observed, “What is surprising is the level of global polarization that we see on this subject. We have been collecting public opinion data all over the world on various issues, and I can’t think of any questions or subjects where we see such large percentages on one side in a group of countries and equally high percentages on the other side in other parts of the world.” The most tolerant responses to the question were predominantly secular and affluent, and either Latin American and Western.
The least tolerant were found to be the 13 Middle Eastern and African nations polled. The strongest support came from Spain where 88 per cent of respondents answered “Yes” to the question. The study found a strong relationship between a country’s religiosity and its opinion on homosexuality. In countries where religiosity was low, attitudes were mostly positive. This was measured by three factors; whether they believe faith in god to be a necessity for morality; whether or not they say that religion is important in their lives; and whether they pray every day.
This trend excluded Russia and China where religiosity was found to be low, but only around 20 percent answered “Yes” on the question of whether homosexuality should be accepted in society. In 2012, Russia’s top court upheld a ban on gay pride marches for the next 100 years in Moscow. On the other hand religiosity was measured to be high in the Philippines and attitudes were positive, with 73 per cent of respondents answering “Yes.”
The results of the survey have been published at a time when many countries are debating same-sex marriage, France in particular having conducted its first official ceremony last week, and the UK preparing to pass a law soon. There are currently fifteen countries worldwide in which there is legal recognition of same-sex marriages.