Americans have a stereotypical view of Europeans being more socially tolerant.
I don't believe this to be the case at all. Last month, France voted for same-sex marriage but it wasn't without it's hurdles. The hashtag #IlFautTuerLesHomosexuels (“Homosexuals Must Be Killed”) was trending on Twitter in France alongside violent protests in Paris. Even more frightening is the campaign against freedom of religion. Women, now, must refrain from wearing a niqab or a burqa in public. In fact, France and Belgium has banned all clothing that covers the face. In Switzerland, no longer can minarets or places of worship be constructed. Apparently, 74% of people in France believe muslims can never be a part of French society. Britains number is significantly less but the UK is not without it's faults either.
In England, a teenager was sent to prison for sending out a tweet. The big three British parties all agree that a new press/media regulator was necessary. Of course, the Leveson inquiry came about by outrage generated by crimes already illegal under British law. It is an attack on free speech. In Germany, Austria, Poland, Belgium and Lithuania one can be thrown in prison for even talking about the Holocaust or crimes committed by the Soviet Union. In Hungary, of the 362 religious organisations only 14 remain on the register. The rests schools are no longer officially accredited. The same in Germany. A parent cannot decide on their childrens education. Moreover, homeschooling is outlawed right across many countries in Europe. Germans have actually fled the country to America seeking asylum. But what of Ireland? Where a raped 14 year old girl was told she couldn't have a termination and of course, the downright circus that took place even when she traveled to the UK. Even today, we have the song and dance about same-sex marriage. As recently as 1995, divorce was illegal in this country. And in 2013, there is still a lot of hoops two people must jump through to get separated officially.
When it comes to drugs and prostitution, America can learn a lot from Europe but when it comes to education and free speech right down to the clothes you can wear, Europe has a lot to learn from the States. Of course, with Americans changing as of late and the decriminalisation of marijauna and prostitution in many states, Europe is quickly losing it's reputation as the place of social tolerance.