Monday, April 25, 2005

PA First Cousins Marry in Maryland

Pa. Cousins Try to Overcome Taboo of 'I Do'

He also knew, even as a mere lad of 14, that this never would be just any romance, because the object of that rapturous gaze happened to be his cousin Eleanor. And not a distant cousin, located somewhere in the far branches of the family tree. Their mothers were sisters. They knew their attraction -- she had felt it, too -- was taboo, and they kept it more or less a secret. That is, until last month, when they decided it was time to marry.

The whole thing gives me the hibby jibbies, but that's that. I don't think I have strong feelings either way. One thing, for sure, is that it is not against nature. I think the concerns are more public health type stuff, which is a real concern.

Anyway, I was blown away by the rationale given in defense of these types of marriages:

But their marriage also cast a light on conflicting state laws surrounding the practice, and on such groups as Cousins United to Defeat Discriminating Laws Through Education (C.U.D.D.L.E.) and , which cite new research to encourage acceptance of such unions.

"In God's eyes, we're all brothers and sisters.


Anonymous Gpopcak said...


I'm trying to understand why this relationship should give you, of all people, the "heebies-jeebies>" You reject the natural law argument, but then you appeal to public health--but then that would be an argument against homosexuality too.

By not supporting the rights of these consenting adults to wed, aren't you exposing bourgeios, traditionalist ideas of marriage? I'm not throwing bombs. I'm sincere. Think through this, Ono. Considering your opinions on related issues, what's the basis for your apparent opposition to consanguinity?

2:45 PM  
Blogger Ono said...

I'm not opposed to first cousins marrying. My experience with consanguinity is informed by a negative prejudice, which is why it makes me feel funny. My hesitation is based on cultural conditioning. It is a prejudice and it requires examination.

That said, I have no desire, nor do I see any good reason to oppose such marriages. These arrangements have been a necessary part of human society of thousands of years.

It is the same thing with polygamy. I don't support it but it has been necessary in many societies in times past when the existence of a clan depended on its able-bodied population.

The public health aspect of consanguinity is real, but certainly not an argument for prohibiting it. It is rather, in the service of full disclosure. If the couple wishes to take on the risks, then so be it.

5:25 PM  
Blogger GPopcak said...

This still leaves the original question. Now you're in full-intellectualize-the-problem-away mode, but you are still disturbed on some level. What do you make of that sense of being disturbed? Or, as Marley said when Scrooge was trying to rationalize him out of existence, "Why do you doubt your senses?"

There are some psychological ghosts you don't appear to care to deal with. What do they mean to you? No doubt you will respond that they are just left over cultural programming?

7:14 PM  
Blogger abby said...

i read an article not too long ago in discover magazine about how cousin marriages are some of the best, genetically. it's that my cousins are creepy people that creeps me out about marrying them, not consanguinity :P

7:46 PM  
Blogger Ono said...

Being uneasy about something is a reflection of culture and custom. There is no "nature" to dig down to independent of culture and custom.

If by "psychological ghosts" you mean prejudices, I say big deal. Everyone has those. They key is shining a light on them and dealing with them.

I'm not sure what you are trying to get me to admit. If it has to do with natural law, I like what Hans Kung said about it: "there are two problems with natural law, that it is not natural, nor is it a law."

If you are trying to get me to admit to absolute morals reflected in some natural law: well, I am a Scotist. The only absolute thing is that God is to be worshipped, everything else from commandment 5-10 is relative to this particular world and is not rooted in absolute principles but simply in God's command.

I don't see how marrying a first cousin is wrong or intrinsically evil or _____, unless they are creepy, then it is just plain stupid.

12:20 AM  

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