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Poll: Developed Countries Show Strong Support For Gay Marriage

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Wednesday Jun 19, 2013
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A new poll found that 73 percent of the most developed countries in the world support some form of legal recognition of same-sex couples -- just as the United States Supreme Court is scheduled to rule on two landmark gay marriage cases, reports Ipsos, a global market research company.

Of the 16 developed countries surveyed, 52 percent support full marriage equality while 21 percent support some form of legal recognition but not marriage.

More than 12,480 adults were surveyed in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and the United States.

Nearly 60 percent of people polled thought "same-sex couples should have the same rights to adopt children as heterosexual couples do" and 64 percent said, "same-sex couples are just as likely as other parents to successfully raise children."

"What we see is that in every one of the 16 countries we surveyed, there is a majority in favor of allowing same sex couples to have some sort of legal recognition," Nicolas Boyon, an Ipsos senior vice president, told Reuters. "In nine out of 16 countries we see an outright majority in favor of full marriage equality."

"We see majorities in 12 of 16 countries supportive of gay parenting," Boyon added.

In the countries that have legalized gay marriage (Sweden, Norway, Spain, Belgium, Canada and France) the majority of people surveyed said they backed full equality for same-sex couples, along with most Germans, Britons and Australians.

It should be noted, however, that only 48 percent of Argentines, supported marriage equality for same-sex couples, even though the South American country legalized gay marriage in 2010.

The poll also found that 72 percent of people surveyed disagreed with the statement "same-sex marriage is or could be harmful to society." Additionally, Ipsos noted that "support for same-sex marriage appears to be driven by demographic variables, knowing someone who is LGBT, religion, social media and cultural differences."

"Either there is no exposure or there is just too much embarrassment to admit it," Boyon told Reuters. "It is likely there is still a stigma attached to the issue in those countries."

Opposition to the legalization of gay marriage was highest in Hungry, South Korea, Poland and Japan, where 37 percent of respondents said they were not sure how they felt about the hot button issue.

"What is common to Hungary, South Korea and Poland is that by and large they are the countries that have the lowest percentage of people who report having a relative, a colleague, or a friend who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender," Boyon said.

Social media and religion were some of the biggest influences on views towards marriage equality. The poll points out that people who were active on social media were more likely to back gay marriage, and 27 percent of people who said they were religious were more like to support some form of legal recognition for same-sex couples. Only 17 percent favored no recognition for gay couples.

"Poland has the most opposition to adoption to same-sex couples, and it is probably one of the most religious countries in the survey," Boyon said.

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