The Relationship between Religion and Views Toward Homosexuality: An Empirical Study of 98 Countries

13 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2016

See all articles by Robert W. McGee

Robert W. McGee

Fayetteville State University - Department of Accounting

Date Written: June 23, 2016


Homosexuality is generally viewed negatively. That is certainly the case in the Jewish and Christian holy books as well as the Quran, although opinions differ as to interpretation. The practice has been condemned by these religions. An Imam in Orlando, Florida, the site of the mass murder of homosexuals in June, 2016, has gone so far as to say that killing homosexuals would be the compassionate thing to do.

It is not the purpose of this paper to review the history of homosexuality, or the pros and cons or moral standing of the practice. Readers can obtain that information by reading the items listed in the reference section of this paper. The goal of this study is more limited, to report the results of various studies conducted by the World Values Surveys on the topic of homosexuality. Those six studies, going back to 1981, asked hundreds of thousands of people in about 100 countries what their views were on homosexuality, specifically the extent to which it could be justified. This study compares views on homosexuality based on the religion of the participants in the various surveys. The a priori view of many people is that some religions are more accepting of homosexuality than other religions. The purpose of the present study is to determine whether those a priori views can be supported by the evidence.

The present study is part of a series on homosexuality. Other studies in the series rank countries based on their acceptance of homosexuality and examine specific demographic variables such as gender, age, social class, level of education, and region to see whether these variables are significant. Another study is longitudinal, measuring the change in views toward homosexuality that has taken place over the past few decades. Citations to some of those studies (with links) are listed in the reference section of the present paper.

Keywords: homosexuality, homophobia, gay, gay marriage, same sex marriage, sodomy, lesbian, transgender, LGBT, sex, sexual orientation, gender, victimless crime, human rights, women’s rights, religion, discrimination, Sharia law, Islam

JEL Classification: A13, B54, D63, J1, J12, J14, J15, J16, K14, K33, K4, M14, O51, O52, O53, O54, O55, O56, O57

Suggested Citation

McGee, Robert W., The Relationship between Religion and Views Toward Homosexuality: An Empirical Study of 98 Countries (June 23, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Robert W. McGee (Contact Author)

Fayetteville State University - Department of Accounting ( email )

Fayetteville, NC 28301
United States


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics