Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Gallup: Gay sex, divorce, extramarital sex reach new highs of ‘moral acceptability’
First Published May 30 2014 03:17 pm • Last Updated May 30 2014 03:16 pm

Washington • Americans are showing more tolerance for a range of behaviors, with sex between unmarried adults, medical research on stem cells from human embryos, and doctor-assisted suicide all showing record highs and increases in "moral acceptability" from last year.

The Gallup poll’s annual "moral acceptability" scale has been conducted since 2001 and charts shifting cultural attitudes on a number of hot-button social issues. In the 2014 list released Friday, Gallup researchers said 12 of the 19 categories reflected "levels of moral acceptance that are as high or higher than in the past."

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"Americans largely agree about the morality of several issues," Gallup researchers said. "Most say birth control is acceptable but that extramarital affairs are wrong. However, other issues show clear, substantial divides. These differences are largely explained by party identification, but previous research has shown that age also plays a factor."

Three issues — sex between an unmarried man and woman, medical research on embryonic stem cells and doctor-assisted suicide — showed a slight increase in acceptability from 2013. Most of the other issues were mostly unchanged.

Gallup grouped the 19 issues into five categories, including:

Highly acceptable • birth control (90 percent).

Largely acceptable • divorce (69 percent); sex between an unmarried man and woman (66 percent); embryonic stem cell research (65 percent); gambling (62 percent); the death penalty (61 percent); buying and wearing clothing made of animal fur (58 percent); having a baby outside of marriage (58 percent); gay or lesbian relations (58 percent); medical testing on animals (57 percent).

Contentious • Doctor-assisted suicide (52 percent); abortion (42 percent).

Largely unacceptable • Cloning animals (34 percent); pornography (33 percent); sex between teenagers (30 percent).

Highly unacceptable • Suicide (19 percent); polygamy (14 percent); cloning humans (13 percent); married men and women having an affair (7 percent).


story continues below
story continues below

Against a backdrop of sweeping legal victories in favor of same-sex marriage, the 58 percent of Americans who rated gay and lesbian relations as morally acceptable was mostly unchanged from last year’s rating of 59 percent. Last year’s figure, however, represented a 19-point shift since 2001, the largest change for any issue on Gallup’s list, which it started at that time.

Other notable shifts over time include having a baby out of wedlock (up 13 points from 2002); sex between unmarried adults (up 13 points since 2001), and divorce (up 10 points from 2001).

The 2014 figures were based on 1,028 phone interviews with U.S. adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.