ILGA and RIWI Corporation released today the results of a survey of the attitudes towards marriage equality conducted in 51 countries around the world. The study with over 50,000 respondents is the largest ever of its kind and was conducted using RIWI’s Random Domain Intercept Technology (RDIT™).

In countries where marriage equality does not exist, and where many still retain legislation criminalizing same-sex activities between consenting adults, large percentages of respondents answered the question “Should same-sex marriage be legal?” negatively, specifically: 76% in Ghana, 73% in Russia, 66% in Ukraine, 56% in Ecuador, 54% in Poland, 53% in Pakistan, 51% in Venezuela, 46% in Morocco, 46% Saudi Arabia, and 44% in India.

Conversely, in countries where legislation legalizing same-sex marriages is in place (Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Argentina, France, Portugal, and Spain), the majority of respondents answered the same question positively. Respondents of countries which have similar provisions in place or provisions with fewer rights than marriage or who are likely to adopt them in the near future, such as Australia, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy also responded positively the majority of the time.

Surprisingly, five countries where same-sex unions are legal actually had low public support for marriage equality. In South Africa, where same-sex marriage is legal, 50% of respondents were not in favour of it. Similarly, in Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, and Brazil where same-sex civil partnerships are legal 56%, 47%, 44%, and 41% of respondents responded negatively to the question.

In China, Israel and Japan, all countries where same-sex unions are not legal, respondents against and in favour were relatively close: in China, 38% were in favour and 34% against; in Israel 39% in favour and 41% against; and in Japan, 28% in favour and 30% against. Although more research needs to be done, this finding may suggest that these countries could be moving towards legalization of same-sex marriages, or at the least unions, to reflect the opinions of many citizens.

“Although ILGA’s top priorities – said ILGA Executive Director Renato Sabbadini – remain the universal decriminalization of same-sex sexual activities among consenting adults and the universal depathologisation of trans and intersex persons, and marriage equality is not one of the top priorities for ILGA, there is no doubt that a survey exploring the acceptance of same-sex marriage is a useful indicator as to the general acceptance of LGBTI people by the societies they live in.”

“The results of this survey, in as far they can allow also to gauge the general acceptance by a population vis-à-vis minorities characterized by non-normative sexual orientations or gender identities/expressions, do not come as a surprise to the many LGBTI activists all over the world – said  also Sabbadini – although they do not help answer the question as to whether it is the laws that change perceptions in the population or if laws emerge once a population has already changed in relation to a certain minority.”

“More research is needed – said Eric Meerkamper, President of RIWI Corporation – and both RIWI and ILGA hope to find partners interested in future surveys covering a greater range of issues in relation to (the perception of) sexual orientation and gender identity, to be conducted both at the world level and at the regional level, to identify, if possible, which factors condition the most the social attitudes towards LGBTI people in society around the world.”

The Survey on perceptions of Marriage Equality can be found here

For more information on the State-Sponsored Homophobia Report and on the related map contact:

Renato Sabbadini, Executive Director, ILGA

[email protected]


For more information on the Survey on perceptions of Marriage Equality you can contact:

Eric Meerkamper, President, RIWI Corporation

[email protected]


About ILGA

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, is the world federation of national and local organizations dedicated to achieving equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people. ILGA is an umbrella organization of more than 1200 member organizations across the world. ILGA’s aim is to work for the equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex people and their liberation from all forms of discrimination.

About The RIWI Corporation

The RIWI Corporation (RIWI) is a global data capture company whose Random Domain Intercept Technology (RDIT™) is the only all-device technology capable of randomly intercepting online survey respondents in every country and territory in the world. A full description of the RDIT methodology can be found at: www.riwi.com