This paper seeks to answer the practical question whether the institutionalisation level of same‐sex relationships can affect the social acceptance of lesbian women and gay men in Europe, and highlight some of the factors that can potentially determine the incidence of homophobia in 26 European countries.
The study contributes to the literature on acceptance of lesbian women and gay men in Europe by using the European Social Survey dataset, focusing especially on a key variable measuring the agreement level with the statement that gay men and lesbians should be free to live their own life as they wish. For data analyses, explanatory models were constructed by applying multilevel mixed‐effects linear regression.
The study presented empirically tested arguments that the introduction of same‐sex partnership legislation can lead to a decrease of anti‐gay/lesbian attitudes, as has happened in the European countries examined in this study.
Future research in more societies is needed to examine the long‐term effects of the introduction of same‐sex partnership legislation on homophobia.
A key policy implication of highlighting that the provision of equal rights for gay and lesbian citizens in the form of same‐sex marriage and registered partnership can positively influence attitudes, is to urge policy‐makers to introduce these legal frameworks in order to create a more inclusive society.
The content presented in this paper is based on the authors’ own original research.
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