Russia Dwarfs West in Intolerance of Gays – Survey

Submitted by ILGA-Europe

Reposted from RIA Novosti:

Russians are dramatically less tolerant of homosexuality than are people in eastern and western Europe or North America and that intolerance has risen rapidly in recent years, according to a new global survey by the US-based Pew Research Center.

Of the 996 Russian adults surveyed over a two week period in March, 74 percent said society should not accept homosexuality, according to “The Global Divide on Homosexuality,” published this week by the Pew Research Center (PRC), a nonpartisan research organization in Washington.

“What this shows is that views on homosexuality in Russia are very negative,” said Juliana Horowitz, a senior researcher at PRC and one of the authors of the report.

“It puts Russia not completely in line but in the same category with countries like Sub-Saharan Africa and most of the Muslim countries we surveyed, and certainly among the most negative globally,” she said.

The number of Russian respondents opposed to homosexuality is up sharply from 60 percent in 2002 and 64 percent in 2007. The survey was conducted by questioners who went door-to-door across Russia in March 2013. It had a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.

The results on Russia were surprising, Horowitz said, and researchers did not find an immediate explanation for the numbers.

They looked at the age of respondents, but found those surveyed in Russia were not older as a group than respondents in other countries. Researchers also looked at religious views, which could indicate a more conservative perspective on social issues.

“Russia scores very low on the religiosity scale, which includes things like whether people pray at least once a day or say religion is very important to their lives, so that doesn’t seem to explain the survey results either. We’re not sure what the reason is,” said Horowitz.

“It’s especially surprising when you look at the rest of Europe, which is far more accepting, and even Greece and Eastern bloc countries like Poland and the Czech Republic, where the results are more mixed but certainly not negative,” she added.

France was on the whole among European countries more tolerant of homosexuality despite being rocked in recent months by massive demonstrations against the government’s decision to legalize gay marriage, the study showed.

Sixty percent of those surveyed in the United States said homosexuality should be accepted by society, a figure that is much lower than Canada, Australia and most of Europe. Respondents in the Middle East and Africa however were in general firmly opposed to homosexuality, the survey indicated.

Nigeria had the highest level of opposition, where 98 percent of those surveyed said homosexuality should not be accepted.

Russia has made no secret of its aversion to homosexuality. Gay rallies are routinely banned and officials have discussed banning adoptions of Russian children by same-sex couples.

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