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      Get Smart on the Web   09/16/2016

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LadyR

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Hello,

I am new, just recently found this site.  I am not in a cousin relationship, however I am involved with my half-nephew.  I never knew him, he grew up very far away.  I never knew his dad was my half brother until I was thirteen.  My nephew and I began talking last year and since then, we have developed a strong and wonderful loving relationship.  We keep it hidden and wish we could be more open about it.  We know our family would not agree and it is difficult.  We have found happiness and love and support and acceptance and we are afraid to share it.  When I found this website, it gave me hope that there are more out there like us and that maybe one day, we can be more open about our relationship.  Thank you. 

Lady R 

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over the years  we've had a few people in similar situations stop in to visit. i think that the genetic risks are about the same for you as they would be for first cousins, although i'm not positive. it would be very close. but legally, you're out of luck i'm afraid. and the judgment from society for you will likely be much greater even than it is for us, and we face a LOT of stigma and prejudice. you don't have any biblical support on your side either, which will make it more difficult. but you are definitely not alone. maybe you should create a support network for people in your circumstances. that's what KC did here nearly 20 years ago... he never expected to find others out there who had fallen in love with and/or married a cousin, but within only a few months it had gotten pretty busy! i think i found this site when it was still in its first year, and there were a whole bunch of regulars coming here. even more so than there are now! the internet was still pretty new at the time too, so message boards and chatrooms were quite popular. now days it's slower because so many other means of communication exist... cell phones and text messaging, so our chatroom doesn't get much traffic anymore.

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I certainly agree with Lady C. You have a 3rd degree relation with your half-nephew, though the coefficient of relatedness r (or relationship) is 12.5%, same with that between first cousins. If you would ask my opinion... For me the laws should change and the criterion upon which a marriage would be considered valid/legal or not should be a critical value of the above coefficient and not the degree of relation. Genetics has shown so far that marriages between first cousins (r=12.5%) is the safety threshold  as the risk for genetic problems carried to children is really small, though not negligible. Practically, you both share the same genes as if you were first cousins. 

In order to see how problematic is the -degree of relation only- approach of the Legislation consider the case of two double cousins. From the genetics scope, two double cousins are half-siblings as they have an r=25%. However, in states where marriage between cousins is allowed, there will probably not be prohibition for 2 double cousins to get married. It seems that you are unlucky. Such laws should be purely a scientists affair and not a judges one. 

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20 hours ago, Santoro said:

For me the laws should change and the criterion upon which a marriage would be considered valid/legal or not should be a critical value of the above coefficient and not the degree of relation.

BRILLIANT!  absolutely brilliant! why had that never occurred to me before? or any of us for that matter. this is how we need to approach legislative change. so many laws are worded so confusingly from one state to another as it is... if we could get state legislatures to reword their statutes, it makes the laws consistent... or even if they aren't consistent they're at least worded in a way that is consistent and can leave no room for misinterpretation. but the best thing is that it would, during the lawmaking process, take the knee-jerk emotional aspect out of the minds of the house and senate as they debate it.

 

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Thank you for your positive comment LadyC. Keep in mind that most, if not all, laws wolrd-wide are made by politicians and run for lawyers and judges... This means that legislation intentionally is structured and written in a messy (and quite often ambiguous) manner otherwise politicians, lawyers and judges would be… jobless. 

Just to complete my thoughts in previous message, the degree of relation is necessary only in clauses (or articles) of the Law concerning affinity or spiritual relation, not biological one between two candidate spouses. For example, in Hellenic Orthodox Church a god father is not allowed to marry neither his god-child mother nor his god-child because of the spiritual relation obtained through baptism. I presume something similar applies to Catholic Church. Similarly, affinity relations should be considered to a certain degree not only to prevent incest but mostly to protect family cohesion. In the example of double cousins mentioned in previous message, with no incest involved double cousins become practically half-siblings. It sounds paradox but it is a fact.

So, yes, the degree of relation must be a criterion talking about affinity and spiritual relations but it is not proper itself concerning the biological relations. Because in christian states and countries, (and USA are definitely christian ones in spite of the massive dechristianisation and religional "neutrality" promoted by the political correctness) the whole anathema to cousin marriages rises basically from distorted knowledge about genetics, the coefficient of relationship (or relatedness) r or any other equivalent (like the coefficient of inbreeding F) should be the guide towards a more fair and reasonable Legislation. 

 

PS: a consistent Legislation is the nightmare of lawyers.

Edited by Santoro

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I've always railed against the genetics argument concerning cousin marriages.  Ashkenazi Jews, African (Americans)  and women over the age of 40 are not prevented from procreation despite their higher risk pool nor are they required to have genetic tests run prior to conception.

Of course, part of me thinks that you are talking about a level and a half above what my brain can grasp....

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