SHARECOMMENTMORE

(USA TODAY) -- The world is divided over the acceptance of homosexuality, a survey released today finds.

There is broad acceptance of homosexuality in North America, the European Union, and much of Latin America, according to the Pew Research Center survey. The survey was conducted by telephone and face-to-face in 39 countries among 37,653 respondents from March 2 to May 1. The margin of error for the survey ranges from plus or minus 3.1 to plus or minus 7.7 percentage points.

Juliana Horowitz, the report's lead author and a senior researcher at Pew, says, "I can't think of any question we have asked where we have this sort of global polarization. In North America, Europe and several countries in Latin America, we have really high acceptance of homosexuality. In predominantly Muslim nations and in sub-Saharan Africa, we have equally widespread views on the other side."

African nations and predominantly Muslim countries are among the least accepting of homosexuality. For example, about 98% of people in Nigeria say homosexuality should not be accepted. In Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim country in Southeast Asia, 93% say homosexuality should be rejected.

About 60% of Americans say society should accept homosexuality. They are more tolerant today than in 2007, when 49% said homosexuality should be accepted.

In several countries, younger respondents expressed more tolerant views than older people. For example, in Japan, 83% of those younger than 30 say homosexuality should be accepted, compared with 71% of those ages 30-49, and 39% of those 50 and older.

This survey is the first in the series "LGBT in Changing Times" that the center will release in the weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage.