Religion poisons everything? Greater acceptance of homosexuality in more secular countries

Across the world attitudes towards homosexuality roughly correlate to how wealthy and secular a country is, according to Pew Research's Global Attitudes Project.

Across the world attitudes towards homosexuality roughly correlate to how wealthy and secular a country is, according to Pew Research’s Global Attitudes Project.

Homosexuality is largely accepted in North America, the European Union and much of Latin America, but widely rejected in predominantly Muslim nations and Africa, as well as in parts of Asia and Russia, according to a survey of 39 countries.

Spain was the most progressive European nation, with 88 per cent of those surveyed accepting homosexuality, followed by Germany with 87 per cent. Britain was fifth with 76 per cent accepting homosexuality.

In Muslim nations and Africa large majorities still reject homosexuality, including 97 per cent in Jordan, 95 per cent in Egypt, 94 per cent in Tunisia, 93 per cent in the Palestinian territories, 93 per cent in Indonesia, 87 per cent in Pakistan, 86 per cent in Malaysia, 80 per cent in Lebanon and 78 per cent in Turkey.

Globally attitudes towards homosexuality have remained reasonably stable in recent years, except in South Korea, the United States and Canada, where the percentage saying homosexuality should be accepted has grown by at least ten percentage points since 2007.

In countries where religion is more central to people’s lives homosexuality is less accepted, with the exception of Russia and China, where majorities still rejected homosexuality despite low levels of religiosity.

Attitudes to homosexuality were relatively evenly split between the genders, with women tending to be more accepting where there was a difference. Younger people were almost universally more tolerant of homosexuality around the world – although in Britain those aged 30 to 49 were more accepting than those aged 18 to 29.

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The survey by the Pew Research Center was conducted in 39 countries among 37,653 respondents from March 2 to May 1, 2013. Results for India were not reported due to concerns about the survey’s administration in the field.

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