Dating your second cousin once removed
In the , and other publications, the authors declare that laws against cousin marriage are baseless. It isn't that hard to imagine: Boy meets girl, girl's sister likes boy's family, girl's sister gets interested in boy's brother, both couples end up getting married.
If non-cousin couples would take the time to educate themselves, they would be jealous of cousin couples!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.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?And if procreation between first cousins is too dangerous, why stop there? Why not test everybody for bad genes, ban marriage between carriers, and let cousins without bad genes marry each other?Now a study by the National Society of Genetic Counselors says that having a child with your first cousin raises the risk of a significant birth defect from about 3-to-4 percent to about 4-to-7 percent.
According to the authors, that difference isn't big enough to justify genetic testing of cousin couples, much less bans on cousin marriage.
Science has deflated the scientific objections to cousin marriages. North Carolina and West Virginia explicitly prohibit me from marrying you, but 20 other states don't. Because if it is, bear in mind that you and I have as many genes in common as an uncle and niece do.
If you and I can marry, why can't an uncle and an adult niece? Would you rather restrict marriage to ordinary first cousins? First cousins have as many genes in common as a man and his half-brother's child do. If first cousins can marry, why can't Roger and Chelsea? If you still won't cry uncle, let's look at hard-core incest.
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.
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.
Many advocates of cousin marriage dismiss bans on the practice as racist.