POLITICIANS are out of touch with public sentiment, says a leading marriage equality campaigner, following the publication of new research that shows Australians to be some of the most accepting worldwide of homosexuality.

The Global Attitudes survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center in the US, surveyed 40,000 people in 40 countries to gauge their views on a range of issues.

The survey — which didn’t cover a number of countries including New Zealand, Sweden and Singapore — found Spain to be the most accepting of homosexuality with only six per cent of people finding it morally unacceptable.

Australia came seventh with less than one-in-five people finding homosexuality as immoral, a third seeing it as morally acceptable and 45 per cent not even seeing it as a moral issue at all.

Of the countries above Australia in the poll, four (the UK, Spain, France and Canada) allow gay marriage while a number with more hardline attitudes also have full marriage equality, including South Africa, Argentina and Brazil.

Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome said the findings backed up surveys that showed support for equal marriage in Australia is high.

“The Pew Research result is no surprise because polls consistently show at least 65 per cent of Australians support marriage equality which is higher than many other western countries including some which have already have marriage equality,” he said.

“The obvious question is why is there such a huge gap between the Australian public’s acceptance of same-sex relationships, and the failure of too many politicians to support marriage equality.”

Croome added that many politicians were oblivious to the feelings of those they represented: “The majority who are against simply don’t understand yet how strongly many of their constituents support marriage equality.”

Attitudes to homosexuality were very different in Africa with the survey finding 98 per cent of people in Ghana found homosexuality morally unacceptable — more than in Uganda, which has recently passed a raft of anti-gay laws.

Some of the biggest tourist destinations for Australians fared badly with 88 per cent of Malaysians and 93 per cent of Indonesians surveyed declaring homosexuality immoral.

Globally, homosexuality was seen as more acceptable that extra marital affairs or gambling but more immoral than abortion or divorce.

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Top 10 countries most gay friendly countries:

1.Spain
2.Germany
3.France
4.Czech Republic
5.Canada
6.United Kingdom
7.Australia
8.Italy
9.Argentina
10.Japan

Top 10 countries least gay-friendly countries:

1.Ghana
2.Egypt
3.Jordan
4.Palestine
5.Indonesia
6.Uganda
7.Tunisia
8.Kenya
9.Malaysia
10.Nigeria

(Source: Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project)

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