Photographed By Lauren Perlstein.
For most of us, it's easy to live life without thinking about how other people view our choices and habits. After all, we tend to associate with people who share our values and (hopefully) will refrain from judging us for our decisions. But, how does the rest of the country feel about those contentious moral issues?
A Gallup survey released last week polled 1,028 Americans from all 50 states on 19 subjects ranging from same-sex marriage to divorce to pre-marital sex. The results showed that, for 12 of the 19 issues, acceptance is at an all-time high. Support for birth control, for example, stands at 90%, divorce at 69%, premarital sex at 66%, and stem-cell research at 65%. When it comes to same-sex relationships, acceptance is at an all-time high of 58%. Meanwhile, 33% of Americans approve of pornography, and suicide is deemed morally acceptable by only 19% — although doctor-assisted suicide has a 52% acceptability rating. Affairs outside of marriage received the least support; only 7% of Americans consider adultery acceptable. However, apparently 14% of us are cool with polygamy. So, there's that.
Unsurprisingly, the results vary widely along party lines, especially on issues like same-sex marriage and abortion. Plus, while Americans' level of tolerance has risen considerably over the past few years, 74% of respondents think "the state of moral values in the U.S. [is] getting worse" — and 6% pinpoint the decline of morality as the biggest problem facing the country. Clearly, greater acceptance in general doesn't translate to less conflict over right and wrong.