Survey finds worldwide split over attitudes toward gays
By Susan Heavey
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A survey on Tuesday shows a world divided over the acceptance of gays, with countries in Africa and the Middle East strongly opposed even as tolerance grows in Europe, the United States, Canada and parts of Latin America.
People in predominately Muslim countries such as Jordan, Egypt, Indonesia and Pakistan along with Nigeria, Senegal and other African nations overwhelming said gay men and lesbians should be rejected from society at large, the Pew Research Center survey of nearly 40 countries found.
At the same time, acceptance of homosexuality continued to grow in North America and most of Europe, according to the survey, which polled nearly 38,000 people in 39 countries.
Some nations, such as Israel, Poland and Bolivia, were split.
"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," Pew said in its summary of the findings.
"In contrast, in poorer countries with high levels of religiosity, few believe homosexuality should be accepted by society," it added.
Still, in some countries where religion tends to be less central - such as Russia and China - gays have yet to gain acceptance, Pew found. Sixteen percent of Russians and 21 percent of Chinese were supportive.
One leading indicator of gay tolerance is same-sex marriage, which is now legal in 13 countries, including France, Argentina and South Africa, as well as parts of the United States and Mexico. Continued...