Courtesy Reuters Thousands carry rainbow flags at the San Francisco Gay Pride Festival in California June 29, 2014

Gay Pride Charade

U.S. Progress On Gay Marriage Is More Modest Than It Appears

By most accounts, the modern gay rights movement was initiated in the United States with a riot at New York City's Stonewall Inn in 1969. But this history notwithstanding, the United States can no longer plausibly claim to be a pioneer in gay rights. Although the country has recently made progress in expanding access to gay marriage -- the Supreme Court’s refusal to review a series of lower appellate court rulings that declared state bans on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional increased the portion of the American public living in a jurisdiction that allows same-sex marriage from 45 percent to almost 60 percent -- it pales in comparison with the strides made elsewhere in the world. Fifteen countries spread across Africa, Europe, Latin America, and Asia, including some countries that are not traditionally thought of as socially progressive, have already managed to pass laws guaranteeing all gay couples the right to marry. Why has the United States struggled so conspicuously to match their success?

The conventional wisdom tends to blame religion, based on research, such as the Pew Research Center’s study on global attitudes, that suggests that the more religious the country, the less likely it is to be accepting of homosexuality. Such studies confirm that U.S. citizens are more religious than their counterparts in western Europe and several Latin American nations. Moreover, Evangelical churches, whose attendees tend to be more disapproving of homosexuality than either mainline Protestants or Catholics, are prominent fixtures of the U.S. religious landscape. Not surprisingly, acceptance of same-sex marriage lags in the United States relative to peer countries. According to the Latin American Public Opinion Project, Canada leads all countries in the Americas in acceptance of same-sex marriage, with 63.9 percent of the public expressing approval, followed by Argentina (57.7), Uruguay (50.5), United States (47.4), Brazil (39.8), Chile (39.7), Mexico (37.8), and Colombia (34.4). Data from Pew find that support for same-sex marriage across western Europe tops that from the United States, with countries such as France, Spain, and the United Kingdom all

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