Public Attitudes towards Homosexuality and Gay Rights across Time and Countries

Published: November 11, 2014

the Williams Institute
Tom W. Smith,  Jaesok Son,  Jibum Kim
Original Article:

Available evidence indicates that the position of gays and lesbians in societies and the legal status of homosexuality have undergone notable changes in recent decades. In some countries, attitudes have become much more supportive of gay and lesbians rights and more accepting of homosexual behavior. For example, in Great Britain the percent saying that sexual relations between two adults of the same gender was always wrong" fell from 64% in 1987 to 22% in 2012 (Park & Rhead 2013) and in the United States approval of gay marriage climbed from
11% in 1988 to 48% in 2012 (Smith & Son 2013).  Collective behaviors have also changes.  For example, the rst gay-pride parades were held in the United States in June, 1970. These have expanded into mass, annual events that attract over a million attendees in a number of countries (Encarnacion 2011; Johnston 2005, 2007). The legal status and rights of gays and lesbians have also expanded. For example, in 2000, the Netherlands became the first country to recognize gay marriage and by 2013, 15 countries plus sections of two other countries had done so (Itaborahy & Zhu 2013, Masci, Sciupac & Lipka 2013).

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