Albania is being called the most homophobic European country with 53% of participants are against homosexuality, according to a new survey published today (26 March).
The European Social Survey (ESS), established in 2001, intends to track the changing trends of social attitudes in European countries and is conducted every two years.
In Albania, it found 95% of participants said they had not lived with a partner before marriage.
Apart from Croatia, the survey does not include countries in the Western Balkans of Europe, where homophobia is arguably stronger.
In both Albania and Croatia, gay people who live together are not given the same legal protection as their straight counterparts.
The most liberal ESS results came from Sweden and the Netherlands, with only 3% of participants believing ‘gays and lesbians should not be free to live life as they wish’.
Kristi Pinderi, from LGBT Pro Albania, said he felt there was not enough participants in the survey to get a real idea of the country's attitude to homosexuality.
Speaking to Gay Star News, he said: ‘I believe participation is needed from everyone. That is the first step to knowing the [full] situation.’
The Open Society Foundation, who conducts the survey for Albania, said, for the country’s size, the amount of participants is ‘considered representative on a national scale’.
Albanian gay activist, Xheni Karaj, says their society ‘often perceives [being gay] as a phenomenon imported from developed countries.’
In 2009, Albania’s Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, publically announced his support for the recognition of same-sex civil marriages and cohabitation. However, the 2010 anti-discrimination law had no detail of any proposed plans.
In 2010, however, the Albanian government unanimously passed anti-discrimination laws to protect its LGBT members, one of few European countries to do so, encouraging questioning over the survey's validity.
In comparison, anti-discrimantory laws do not exist for LGBT members in Russia. In some regions, there are 'gay propaganda' laws banning gay people from expressing their views in public.
The ESS survey was rolled out in Albania for the first time in 2012 and surveyed 1200 people.