Surprising survey reveals Americans are changing their minds about polygamy

Surprising survey reveals Americans are changing their minds about polygamy
New results from a poll conducted in May and released on Friday by Gallup reveal nearly one in five Americans now believes polygamy is “morally acceptable.” (2012 file photo/Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

New results from a poll conducted in May and released on Friday by Gallup reveal nearly one in five Americans now believes polygamy is “morally acceptable.”

According to Gallup’s survey of 1,011 adults aged 18 and older, 17 percent of Americans believe polygamy is “morally acceptable,” up by 2 percentage points compared to 2016 and more than triple the figure recorded in Gallup’s 2006 survey, when only 5 percent said it was acceptable.

Gallup reported roughly the same percentage of respondents who identified themselves as Protestant (9 percent), Catholic (10 percent), or Mormon (12 percent) said they believe polygamy is morally acceptable, all of which fall below the national average.

The group most likely to say polygamy is acceptable is nonreligious Americans.

Gallup Analyst Andrew Dugan wrote, “Between 2011 and 2017, 32% of Americans who do not associate with a particular religion or have no religion at all said polygamy was ‘morally acceptable.’ This follows the general tendency for those who are less religious to be more liberal on social issues.”

Interestingly, Dugan notes Americans’ changing attitudes about polygamy seems to coincide with the popular TLC show “Sister Wives,” which premiered in 2010. The reality television show positively portrayed a family of polygamists. Despite this connection, Dugan asserts in his report “it is impossible to establish any direct causality between the show and changing attitudes.”

Polygamy remains illegal in all 50 states and Canada, which is currently facing a significant polygamy controversy. After more than a decade, Winston Blackmore, 60, was found guilty of violating Canada’s law against polygamy. Blackmore, who belongs to a fundamentalist Mormon church that’s been denounced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, admitted to having 25 wives, which he says is part of his religion and should thus be permitted under Canada’s constitution, reported Fox News on Tuesday.

“I’m guilty of living my religion and that’s all I’m saying today, because I’ve never denied that,” Blackmore said after the verdict. “Twenty-seven years and tens of millions of dollars later, all we’ve proved is something we’ve never denied. I’ve never denied my faith. This is what we expected.”

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