Civil Liberties

Huge Divide Worldwide on Gay Acceptance

Western countries show greater tolerance than African, Middle Eastern countries, according to polls


As the United States and other countries grapple with the issue of same sex marriage, a new Pew Research Center survey finds huge variance by region on the broader question of whether homosexuality should be accepted or rejected by society.

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. Opinion about the acceptability of homosexuality is divided in Israel, Poland and Bolivia.