June 26 has become such a special day in LGBTQ history in the United States many now view the date as ‘National Gay Pride Day.’
It was on this day in 2003 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down so-called ‘sodomy’ laws which made consensual adult sexual activity in private a crime (Lawrence v Texas).
In 2013, SCOTUS invalidated the ‘Defense of Marriage Act’ which prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages (Windsor v United States).
June 26, 2015, was a historic day for LGBTQ people when the high court ruled marriage equality is a constitutional right bringing same-sex marriage to the entire United States (Obergefell v Hodges).
Two years later, on June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court the court gave us another win in Pavan v. Smith ruling that the state of Arkansas, by refusing to automatically list both members of a same-sex couple as parents on their children’s birth certificates (which was routinely done for opposite-sex parents), was violating the legal parameters enumerated in Obergefell which declared same-sex couples must be afforded “the constellation of benefits that the State has linked to marriage.”
A lot of progress has been made by the LGBTQ community in great part because of changing attitudes about homosexuality, not only in the U.S. but around the world.
Pew Research has been tracking public opinion on the acceptance of LGBTQ people since 2002. In its latest survey of 38,426 people in 34 countries, Pew found acceptance is still growing in most of the world, but not everywhere.
For instance, from 2013 (the last time Pew polled the question) to 2019, the number of Americans who say homosexuality should be accepted has risen from 60% to 72%. Only 21% said homosexuality should not be accepted by society.
Most of Western Europe supports acceptance. Sweden has the highest level of support at 94% followed by The Netherlands (92%), Spain (89%), France (86%), and the UK (86%).
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Other countries, while not quite as approving, have shown double-digit increases in support like South Africa (from 32% to 54% support), India (15% to 37%), and Turkey (9% to 25%).
But in regions like the Middle East and Africa, some nations offer little support like Kenya (14%) and Tunisia (9%). Israel stands out as an exception in the Middle East with 47% support, although many might have expected that figure to be higher considering the popularity of Pride events in cities like Tel Aviv.
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However, the results aren’t all puppies and rainbows.
Attitudes in some countries have actually dropped since Pew first began asking the question in 2002.
The 2019 survey shows only 14% support in Russia, 9% in Indonesia, and a scant 7% in Nigeria. All of those figures are lower than the 2002 results.
Pew Research does note, though, that the Philippines, often seen as a conservative nation in terms of social issues, was found to have 73% acceptance.
A country’s wealth seems to have a correlating factor to acceptance as well.
Germany, Sweden, and The Netherlands each have a per-capita gross domestic product over $50,000 and all show huge support for LGBTQ people.
But poorer countries like Kenya, Ukraine, and Nigeria – all with per-capita GDP under $10K – indicate approval around 14% or lower.
For those interested, 32 countries around the world have legalized marriage equality with Costa Rica joining the list last month.