Survey: Wealthier, Secular Nations More Likely to Accept Homosexuality

Recently released findings from Pew Research indicate that nations which are more secular and affluent have higher rates of acceptance of homosexuality.

Pew's Global Attitudes Project released their results Tuesday, which were based off of surveys conducted on over 37,000 respondents in 39 countries from March 2 to May 1.

"The survey of publics in 39 countries finds broad acceptance of homosexuality in North America, the European Union, and much of Latin America, but equally widespread rejection in predominantly Muslim nations and in Africa, as well as in parts of Asia and in Russia," reads Pew's press release in part.

"The survey also finds that acceptance of homosexuality is particularly widespread in countries where religion is less central in people's lives. These are also among the richest countries in the world. In contrast, in poorer countries with high levels of religiosity, few believe homosexuality should be accepted by society."

For example, according to the study while strong majorities of respondents in Canada, France, Germany, and Spain believed that society should accept homosexuality, strong majorities in Lebanon, Egypt, Kenya, and Uganda believed society should not accept homosexuality.

Of the nations surveyed by Pew Research, the country most accepting of homosexuality was Spain, with 88 percent of respondents saying yes to acceptance and 11 percent saying no. The country least accepting of homosexuality was Nigeria, with 98 percent of respondents saying no to acceptance while only 1 percent said yes.

While noting a correlation between a nation's level of religiosity and acceptance of homosexuality, the researchers did note some exceptions to this trend.

"Russia and China receive low scores on the religiosity scale, which would suggest higher levels of tolerance for homosexuality. Yet, just 16% of Russians and 21% of Chinese say homosexuality should be accepted by society," Pew Forum noted.

"Conversely, Brazilians and Filipinos are considerably more tolerant of homosexuality than their countries' relatively high levels of religiosity would suggest."

Globally, 15 countries have legally recognized same-sex marriage. The first to do so was the Netherlands and the most recent was France. In the United States, 12 states and the District of Columbia legally recognize gay marriage.

The Pew Research study comes as the United States Supreme Court weighs the constitutionality of the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Proposition 8. The highest Court in the land heard arguments for the two cases in late March and is expected to render a decision later this month.

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