Religion in Society

Study of Gay-Friendly Countries: U.S. Doesn’t Even Rank in the Top 10

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
article imagearticle image

A new study of gay-friendly countries shows the United States does not even make it into the top 10. The Pew Research Center study found greater acceptance of homosexuality in countries that are more secular and affluent.

The survey asked whether participants in 39 different countries believed homosexuality should be accepted or rejected by society. About 33 percent of Americans said no and about 60 percent answered yes.

As noted by the Washington Post, tolerance is far greater in other countries in Europe and Latin America. More secular countries were more likely to say homosexuality should be accepted: Spain (88 percent), Germany (87 percent), Canada (80 percent), Australia (79 percent), France (77 percent), Argentina (74 percent), Philippines (73 percent) and Chile (68 percent).

Sixty percent of respondents in Brazil said yes, ranking its tolerance equal to the United States.

The “nonpartisan fact tank” said positive attitudes toward homosexuality were more dominant in areas where religion is less central to the lives of citizens. These places are also the most affluent countries in the world.

African and Muslim countries were the least likely to support gay tolerance. Of countries surveyed in the Middle East, the vast majority rejected homosexuality: Jordan (97 percent), Egypt (94 percent) Tunisia (93 percent), and the Palestinian territories (93 percent), Indonesia (93 percent), Pakistan (87 percent), Malaysia (86 percent), Lebanon (80 percent) and Turkey (78 percent).

In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 90 percent of each country rejected homosexuality, including Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria. South Africa was more supportive, with only 60 percent saying that homosexuality should be rejected.

The poll also found that older participants in many countries were less tolerant of homosexuality than younger respondents. Age differences were particularly notable in South Korea, Japan and Brazil, where those under 30 were most tolerant, but participants from 30-49 were still more accepting than anyone 50 and older.

In the United States, participants from 19 to 30 were most accepting of homosexuality (70 percent), but that percentage dropped to 52 percent when looking at respondents 50 years and older.

The European Union, on the other hand, showed solid majorities for the acceptance of homosexuality across age groups.

Pew reports that attitudes toward homosexuality have been stable in most areas, but that acceptance has grown at least 10 percentage points in South Korea, the United States and Canada since 2007. Tolerance has decreased in France, Turkey and Russia.

Sources: MSN, Washington Post