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Cousin dating laws

From this, the media have concluded that marrying your first cousin is "OK." Is it?

As Frame Game has argued before, topics such as sex with animals, dog-eating, and sex with cousins are never as simple as they're made out to be.

Many cousin couples can't pass on genetic diseases, since they're infertile. If not, maybe the 24 states that ban cousin marriage should follow the lead of the five states that allow it if either party is sterile. If your purpose is to prevent people with dangerous genes from marrying each other, why use a crude standard such as kinship?

Many advocates of cousin marriage dismiss bans on the practice as racist.

The authors of the NSGC study urge counselors to be "culturally respectful" of immigrant communities in which cousin marriage is "traditionally preferred." Why do these traditions promote cousin marriage?

The group is people who are married to their cousins.

These people note that 20 percent of marriages around the world are between first cousins, that Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin married their first cousins, and that first-cousin marriage, while prohibited in half the United States, is legal in Canada and throughout Europe.

Six states ban marriage between first cousins once removed, i.e., marrying the son or daughter of your first cousin. Banning cousin marriage keeps these couples in the closet, deterring them from seeking genetic screening, which would help them decide whether they could safely have kids. The best way to curtail such diseases would be to ban marriages within ethnic groups.

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Theoretically, that's half as risky as marrying your first cousin, in terms of increasing the probability of passing on a genetic disease to your kids. And as the NSGC study notes, the crude assumption that children of cousins will turn out badly leads to unnecessary abortions. , CNN, and their journalistic brothers in arms have spun the increased risk found by the NSGC study as no big deal.

But why couldn't genetic screening take care of that problem?

As points out, "Current studies indicate that cousin couples have a lower ratio of miscarriages—perhaps because body chemistry of cousins is more similar." Wouldn't the chance of miscarriage be even lower for siblings?

You can't just say the practice in question is icky.

You have to state a principle and think through its implications. You can't appeal to Victorian morality; Queen Victoria married her first cousin.

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