Support for marriage equality varies greatly around the world, with Western European countries most heavily in favor, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.
Pew has conducted surveys in 32 countries in the past two years. Support was highest in Sweden, where 92 percent of respondents favored equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Other countries Western Europe were not far behind, with 89 percent support in the Netherlands, 87 percent in Spain, 82 percent in France, and 80 percent in Germany. Each of those countries has legalized same-sex marriage.
In Italy, where legalization is being debated but hasn’t yet happened, 73 percent of respondents endorsed marriage equality. In the United Kingdom, support stood at 74 percent, and all parts of the U.K. have enacted marriage equality.
The situation was much different in the Eastern European countries Pew has surveyed, with just 41 percent support in Poland and 31 percent in Hungary.
In North America, 79 percent of Canadians and 63 percent of both U.S. residents and Mexicans backed marriage equality. In the U.S., there were stark differences along party lines. Eighty-two percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents were supportive, compared to 44 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners. Age differences showed up in the U.S. too, with 73 percent of respondents under 40 being supportive, compared to 57 percent of those 40 and older.
In the two South American countries surveyed, there was majority endorsement of marriage equality — 67 percent in Argentina and 53 percent in Brazil. Both countries have legalized same-sex marriage.
Surveys of the Asia-Pacific region showed 75 percent support of equal marriage rights in Australia, which OK’d marriage equality in 2017. In Taiwan, the only Asian country with marriage equality, 45 percent of respondents were in favor and 43 percent still opposed, with the rest undecided. There was majority support in Japan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Cambodia, and India; the latter’s highest court “recently rejected a petition to legalize same-sex marriage,” Pew notes. The survey there was conducted before the ruling. Indonesia had the lowest amount of support among Asian countries, with 5 percent.
In Africa and the Middle East, Pew found 38 percent of both South Africans and Israelis in favor of marriage equality, but just 9 percent of Kenyans and 2 percent of Nigerians. Nigeria came in lowest of all the countries surveyed.
Around the world, Pew found that younger people were more likely to support marriage equality than older ones, women more likely than men, and liberals more likely than conservatives. The ideological split is greatest in the U.S., with 90 percent of liberals endorsing marriage equality and just 36 percent of conservatives. Globally, people with higher levels of education and income were more supportive than those with lower levels.