An increasing majority of Americans view divorce, sex outside of marriage, gay relationships and birth control as morally acceptable while a majority of Americans continue to view abortion as morally wrong, according to new Gallup data. Gallup recently released its annual Values and Beliefs poll which showed that Americans are continuing to become increasingly liberal when it comes to their views on a variety of social behaviours. The poll interviewed over 1,000 Americans from all 50 states in early May 2019 and has a margin of error of four percentage points.
According to the data, 92% of Americans consider the use of birth control to be a “morally acceptable” behaviour, while just 6% of Americans consider the act to be “morally wrong.” Gallup found that 77% of Americans consider getting a divorce to be a morally acceptable action, while 20% disagreed. Meanwhile, 2% responded by saying that appropriateness of divorce “depends on the situation.” By comparison, in 2001, just 59% of respondents said they thought divorce was morally acceptable. That year 28% of respondents considered divorce morally wrong and 12% said that the morality of divorce depended on the situation.
Since 2012, the percentage of respondents who think divorce is morally acceptable has risen by about 10%. When it comes to sex between unmarried men and women (which many Christians consider being a sin), Gallup’s new data indicates that about 71% of Americans consider the act to be morally acceptable. On the flipside, 28% of respondents consider sex between an unmarried man and woman to be morally wrong. In May 2001, just 53% of respondents said that sex between an unmarried man and unmarried woman was morally acceptable while 42% said it was morally wrong.
“Sex between an unmarried man and woman is at its highest point in the Gallup trend,” Gallup research consultant Megan Brenan wrote in an analysis. A majority of Americans (58%), however, believe that sex between teenagers is morally wrong, while 38% believe it to be morally acceptable. Only 9% of respondents in Gallup’s most recent survey viewed married men and women having an affair to be a morally acceptable act, while 89% viewed it as morally wrong. More than twice as many respondents (18%) said they think polygamy is morally acceptable compared to the 7% of respondents who said that polygamy was morally acceptable in 2001.
Sixty-three percent of respondents said that gay and lesbian relationships were morally acceptable. That represents a 23 percentage point increase in the last 18 years. In 2019, 35% of respondents said gay and lesbian relationships were “morally wrong,” down from 53% in May 2001. However, 2019 saw about a 4-percentage-point drop from 2018 in respondents who think gay or lesbian relationships are morally acceptable.
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