Study outlines support for marriage equality around the world

A couple at their wedding in Toronto, Canada. An overwhelming majority of Canadians support same-sex marriage.
A couple at their wedding in Toronto, Canada. An overwhelming majority of Canadians support same-sex marriage.
Wikimedia Commons/Pixoos/Pouria Afkhami

A Pew Research Center report evaluating support for same-sex marriage in 24 countries around the world shows how it differs based region, religion, and other factors.

Sweden leads the way, with 92% of respondents backing marriage equality, according to the research. Nigeria, meanwhile, is at the other end of the spectrum, with just 2% of the population in support of marriage rights for queer people.

In the United States, support for gay marriage is at 63%, but the support is fragmented depending on political beliefs, religion, and other areas.

Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party are nearly two times more likely than Republicans to support marriage equality — 82% vs. 44% — and differences are stark by age group. Among those under 40, 73% say they are in support of gay marriage, though that number dips to 57% among Americans 40 and older.

When broken down by religion, according to the research, 85% of religiously unaffiliated Americans and 96% of atheists support same-sex marriage, compared to 30% of white, non-Hispanic evangelical Protestants. About 65% of American Catholics and 70% of White non-evangelical Protestants back marriage equality.

Outside of the US, support varies as well.

In Western Europe, support for gay marriage is more palpable. In addition to Sweden’s pro-marriage stance, the country is closely followed by the Netherlands (89%), Spain (87%), France (82%) and Germany (80%). In the United Kingdom, 73% of adults support gay marriage, but, in Italy, gay marriage, which has been a headline in the news and politics since the election of Giorgia Meloni, is not legal, despite 74% of adults being in favor of it. 

In Eastern Europe, support for gay marriage is limited. According to the study, only 41% of adults in Poland and just 31% in Hungary support marriage equality.

In the Americas, support is also generally above the halfway mark. Aside from the United States, support for same-sex marriage is 79% in Canada, 63% in Mexico, 67% in Argentina, and 52% in Brazil. Notably, 56% of Catholics in Brazil and 32% of Protestants are on board with same-sex marriage. 

In Asia and the Pacific, marriage support sits at 75% among adults in Australia and 74% in Japan, though it is still not legal in Japan. 

In India, 53% of adults are in favor of same-sex marriage, which is currently in the process of being decided in their Supreme Court. However, in South Korea, only 40% favor legal same-sex marriage, and in Indonesia, only 5% of adults support it. 

Africa and the Middle East remain among the least supportive of gay marriage, with the highest percentage of support being in South Africa at 38%, where gay marriage is also legal, though 58% oppose marriage equality there.

While Nigeria is in last place among African countries in terms of support for same-sex marriage, support is also low in Kenya, where just 9% are pro-marriage equality.

Only Israel was included in the study for the Middle East. In Israel, 56% are opposed to gay marriage and 36% are in favor of it, according to the research. Same-sex marriage is backed by 41% of Jewish adults and 8% of Muslim adults in Israel.