Gallup has released the results of its annual Values and Beliefs poll—and the results are surprising, especially when it comes to the topic of marriage, fidelity, and divorce. According to the polling organization, divorce is becoming increasingly acceptable to Americans, while issues that lead to divorce, such as infidelity, are still considered morally bankrupt.
The poll surveyed 1,535 American adults from across the country and asked them about a range of actions and activities that some may believe are morally wrong. Shockingly, 91 percent of those polled said that they believed cheating and infidelity were always wrong, up from about 50 percent four decades ago.
At the same time, other actions that used to be widely considered morally wrong are now more accepted. For example, 68 percent of Americans now believe that getting a divorce is not a moral issue. In 2001, only 59 percent of Americans believed that divorce was morally OK.
Other issues are also now more widely accepted: 19 percent more people believe that gay and lesbian relationships are acceptable, up from 40 percent in 2001 to 59 percent in 2013. Sixty percent of people now believe that having a baby out of wedlock is OK, up from 45 percent twelve years ago. The percentage of those polled who found polygamy acceptable doubled from 7 percent to 14 percent.
What does the poll data mean? Some believe that it shows a general trend toward Americans being more accepting of many types of relationships—as well as the fact that these relationships may end in divorce. However, one type of relationship that remains taboo is one between a married man and a married woman.
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