Dating first cousins
Although never outlawed in England, during the second half of the 19 century, many states began to ban marriages between first cousins, as part of a larger movement after the Civil War for greater state involvement in a variety of areas, including education, health and safety.Researchers note that the distinction in marriage bans between England and the U. may be explained by the fact that, in the United States, the practice “was associated not with the aristocracy and upper middle class [Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were second cousins] but with much easier targets: immigrants and the rural poor.” Regardless, cousin marriage bans began popping up across the states, with the first in Kansas (1858).A recent report on births in a British-Pakistani community (where first cousin marriage is very common) demonstrated that first cousin children there were twice as likely to be born with “potentially life threatening birth defects” as compared with the children of unrelated parents. [unless a] mother had a brother whose wife was impregnated by [mother’s husband].Advocates on the other side point out that this resulted in only a 6% chance for the children in the study, as compared with a 3% chance for the population as a whole. This is not very likely to happen in modern societies that practice first-cousin marriage. people with common grandparents or people who share other fairly recent ancestors).Opinions and practice vary widely across the world.For your reference, this increase in birth defect rate is about the same as the increased risk of a woman having a baby when she is 40 vs. Proponents here point out that few would advocate banning a 40 year old woman from having children. In fact, in a number of countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Yemen and in the Palestinian Territories, paternal parallel cousin marriage is the preferred form of consanguineous marriage.They also point to recent testing that placed the increased risk of spina bifida and cystic fibrosis at only 1.7% -2.8% higher than for children of unrelated parents. Cousin Marriages Today Globally, cousin marriages are still going strong, with an estimated 10% of all marriages in the world being between cousins, and has high as 50% in some regions of the world.
First cousin marriage is allowed without restriction in 19 states, and with some restrictions in AZ, IL, IN, ME, UT, WI and NC (in North Carolina, while first cousins may marry, “double cousins” may not- more on this one in a bit.) The distinction lies in the debate about whether or not there is an increased risk that the partners’ shared genes will produce an increased chance that their offspring will have recessive, undesirable traits.In some cultures and communities, cousin marriage is considered ideal and actively encouraged; in others, it is subject to social stigma.In some countries, this practice is common; in others it is uncommon but still legal.Banning Cousin Marriages While there have been instances of the banning of marriage between cousins at various points through history, such as the Roman Catholics banning the practice for a time starting with the Council of Agde in 506 AD, for the most part marriage among cousins has been popular as long as people have been getting married.