Globally, Millennials Show Support for Same-Sex Marriage

Christian Kurz by Christian Kurz, Research & Insight, Viacom International Media Networks

Last week, the UK’s House of Commons – the lower house of parliament – in which the Conservative party currently holds a majority, voted with an overwhelming majority of 400 to 175 in favour of a bill opening up the definition of marriage to same sex couples. Civil partnerships which effectively grant same sex couples the same legal rights as married couples have been introduced in the UK in 2005.

Today, France’s National Assembly passed a similar bill 329 – 229 with 10 deputies abstaining. The bill must still be passed by the Senate. Meanwhile, same sex couples in a number of other countries including Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Argentina, Canada and South Africa already have the right. In Brazil and Mexico a number of states/districts have also passed laws, as have 10 states/districts in the US with President Obama recently declaring “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well”.

At the same time, Russia’s government is considering outlawing “homosexual propaganda,” meaning public events that promote LGBT rights and public displays of same-sex affection.

With all that in mind, we wanted to find out what Millennials – those aged between 12 and 30 in this context (we didn’t ask those under 12), think. Millennials in general are known to hold Tolerance as a very important value, and the acceptance of same sex couples – and marriages – would be just an extension of that.

What we found mostly confirmed that – agreement to the statement “All people should have the right to marry whomever they choose, including same-sex couples” was led by a few countries in which it is already legal and accepted (The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Canada, Argentina) followed by the UK, Italy (where the Roman Catholic church is hard at work lobbying against any laws) and France.

With 68% agreement, the U.S. comes in ranked number 12 among the 22 countries in this survey, behind Australia and just ahead of Greece.

Among those in our survey, only three countries came in with less than 50% agreement: India, Turkey (still in the high 40s) and Russia with 39% agreement.

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