Divorce Considered Morally Acceptable to 70% of Americans in Gallup Poll

A new survey from Gallup has revealed that seven out of ten people in the United States now consider divorce to be "morally acceptable".

By Jeffrey Cottrill
Updated: May 29, 2015
Gallup poll finds divorce morally acceptable to 70% of Americans

WASHINGTON, DC -- A new survey from Gallup has revealed that seven out of ten people in the United States now consider divorce to be "morally acceptable", according to a report in the Christian Post.

The organization's 2008 "Values and Beliefs" poll, which surveyed more than 1,000 American adults by telephone, also asked participants about their views on premarital sex, homosexuality, gambling, the death penalty, abortion, medical research on animals, and ten other ethical issues. The acceptance of divorce not only ranked higher than that of all the other issues, it also rose the most quickly since the last poll.

A mere 22% of those polled said they felt divorce to be "morally wrong". However, the survey results seemed to depend on respondents' political or religious beliefs. People who noted themselves as "non-religious", "liberal", and/or "independent" were more likely to answer that divorce was "morally acceptable"; in fact, more than 90% of respondents to whom religion was "not very important" in life claimed to accept divorce morally. Meanwhile, people who identified themselves in the poll as "religious" and/or "conservative", or who were more than 65 years old, were more apt to reply that divorce was "morally wrong".

The percentage of respondents who replied in favor of divorce increased 3% from 2006 and 11% from 2001.

More than 70% of people surveyed in the same poll believed suicide, human cloning, polygamy, and infidelity between married men and single women to be "morally unacceptable".

Does this mean that the traditional stigma associated with divorce is eroding in a more tolerant society -- or that people today are taking the bond of marriage far less seriously? The answer might be a combination of the two, but the one conclusion that's obvious is that society's values are constantly changing. And it's not just in North America: click here for a recent story about the changing face of divorce in China.

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May 22, 2008

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