In modern western society, marrying your cousin is not well accepted, particularly in the United States.
Through a combination of old prejudices and present-day conventional wisdom about inherited birth defects, first cousin marriage is seen by many as a little too close for comfort, as well as a bad idea if you want children.
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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.
In fact, it is estimated that as many as 80% of the marriages in human history have been between first or second cousins.
This switch in cousin-marriage’s acceptance began in earnest in some parts of the Western world in the mid-19th century. Natural Selection himself, was married to his first cousin Emma Wedgwood.
Specifically, until the 1860s or so, first cousins commonly married in Europe and the U. Nonetheless, the practice soon fell out of fashion in the United States.
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.Further, researchers point out that “the widely accepted scare stories – even within academia – and the belief that cousin marriage is inevitably harmful have declined in the face of some of the data we’ve been producing.” Double Cousins Some reconcile the two findings by noting that the children born with defects in the recent British study may, in fact, have been double cousins (best explained by an example): Cross-Cousins vs. .[With] cross cousins, because in the absence of full-sibling incest, it is unlikely [they] . In addition to those countries mentioned above, the “overwhelming majority of cross-cousin marriages appear among the Islamic cultures of North Africa, and those of West and Central Asia.” However, cousin marriage is making a comeback in the U.Parallel Cousins In some societies, first cousin marriage is traditional and well-accepted, although many make a distinction between “cross-cousins” and “parallel cousins.” Cross cousins have parents who are siblings, but of the opposite sex. Likewise, mothers who are also sisters may overtly or covertly share sexual access to the husband of one or the other, raising the possibility that apparent parallel cousins are actually half-siblings, sired by the same father . S., as well, as more and more studies continue to debunk the overblown risks once commonly touted.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).Ohio, NH, NV, ND, SD, WA and WY banned the practice in the 1860s, and many more had enacted bans by the 1920s.