Support for legal rights for same-sex couples tops 70% in some countries where lawmakers are attempting to jump-start attempts to establish marriage equality in the wake of Ireland's historic vote last week.
This is among the findings of a new BuzzFeed News/Ipsos poll of 23 nations which was conducted online over a two-week period beginning about a month before Irish voters voted for marriage equality by a 24-point margin.
We have the clearest picture of attitudes in the 16 of the countries we surveyed where the internet is widely accessible because it was possible to get a sample in our online survey that is representative of the country as a whole. These are concentrated heavily in Europe and North America.
But data collected from the seven additional countries in our survey — Mexico, Brazil, China, South Africa, India, Turkey, and Russia — also suggests there may be surprisingly broad support for partnership protections in many corners of the globe. (We included these countries in our analysis only where our findings appear to reflect broader public opinion based on other surveys despite our limited sample. But they're marked with an asterisk as a reminder that these figures may not be truly representative.)
This is what we found.
1. This is how many people support same-sex marriage or partnership rights in 23 countries around the world.
2. The last two Western European countries without marriage equality appear ready for it.
The BuzzFeed News/Ipsos survey found clear support for marriage equality in the only two Western European countries without marriage equality: Germany, which has civil unions but not marriage, and Italy, which has no protections for same-sex couples at all despite multiple court rulings ordering parliament to enact them.
We found that 68% of Germans favor marriage equality even though the ruling party of Chancellor Angela Merkel has reiterated its opposition to marriage equality in the wake of the Irish vote. Though only 48% of Italians support marriage equality, a total of 75% favor some kind of legal recognition for same-sex partnerships, something Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has been unsuccessfully trying to enact since taking office in early 2014.
3. There is still no clear majority for marriage equality in the United States.
4. This is how support for marriage equality has changed from 2013 to 2015.
5. There has been a surge for marriage equality in the home country of Pope Francis, Argentina.
6. Marriage equality doesn’t get more popular everywhere it passes.
7. Young people appear to be embracing marriage equality around the world.
Young people were more likely to support marriage equality than their elders in virtually every country we surveyed — in some places almost three times as fast.
Here are six countries that give an idea of what we found:
8. Attitudes toward abortion and marriage equality don’t always go hand in hand.
To get a sense of how attitudes on marriage equality and abortion rights correspond, we lined up the percentages of people who said they supported full marriage rights for same-sex couples and people who said they believed abortion should be legal "whenever a woman decides she wants one."
Generally, the countries that are supportive of marriage equality tend to be the most supportive of abortion rights and vice versa (the top right and bottom left quadrants of this chart), but there are plenty of interesting exceptions.
Hungary is an especially interesting outlier. After being one of the leaders in Eastern Europe in creating civil unions with a 2009 court ruling, it then led a regional shift to the right, becoming the first of four Eastern European countries to enact new barriers to marriage equality since 2012. In our survey, just 31% of Hungarians said they supported marriage equality, but Hungarians are among the most permissive in the world when it comes to abortion, with 64.6% believing it should be available without restriction.