Abstract

In this contribution, we elaborate on disapproval of homosexuality in 20 European countries. We mainly focus on the explanation of differences in the disapproval of homosexuality at the individual and the national level. Data from four waves of the European Social Survey are used, using multilevel techniques to test our hypotheses. Individual differences in disapproval of homosexuality can be derived from theories of socializing agents (religious institutions, schools) and socializing circumstances as well as from psychological theories on conventionalism and tradition. We find that religious people, people who support conventionalism, and those who attach to traditions disapprove of homosexuality more, whereas highly educated people disapprove less. Differences between countries can be explained by socializing circumstances of the national context as the countries’ religiosity and laws on homosexuality turned out to be important determinants of the disapproval of homosexuality. We found that disapproval of homosexuality is the least in countries where law permits homosexuals to marry. In addition, people who live in more religious countries disapprove of homosexuality more than people who live in secular countries.

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