What Makes a Culture Tolerant?


Cross-National Public Opinion about Homosexuality: Examining Attitudes Across the Globe
by Amy Adamczyk
University of California Press
304 pages, $39.95


SAME-SEX MARRIAGE is now legal in two dozen countries—while same-sex sexual behavior remains punishable by death in seven others. What accounts for the range of differences in acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer persons throughout the world?

In Cross-National Public Opinion about Homosexuality; Examining Attitudes across the Globe, sociologist Amy Adamczyk has woven an impressive tapestry of nuanced answers to this urgent and complex question. Her powerful if not entirely surprising conclusion is that religious salience—the importance people attach to religion—is the most important factor associated with reduced tolerance for homosexuality at the national level. Also implicated, but with the opposite effect, is the level of economic development along with the degree of democratic government.

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