Kissing Cousins?

June 2, 2010

This past weekend, Eric and I got to spend some quality time with both of our families – including Dan, Alicia, and Matthew. Matthew, in addition to being adorable, is quite clever – he’s now able to wrest his hands free from the tightest of swaddles so that he can lodge his little fists near his eyes (he seems to prefer having them up there).

On the drive home, I thought about how nice it will be that the Olive will be so close in age to her cousin, and that they will be able to grow up together. And then it occurred to me – I have no idea why my mind works this way; it’s a scary place sometimes – that they would actually be able to legally marry in some states. Which is just plain wrong.

Because neither of our parents has siblings, Dan and I didn’t grow up with cousins, so the full weirdness of this whole concept didn’t hit me until now. I looked online to see how many states still allow this practice.

It’s far more than I would have thought – 19 states (plus Washington D.C.) allow marriage between first cousins with no restrictions, while 5 more allow it between couples too old to have children, or physically unable to. And then there’s Maine, which allows it if you obtain a doctor’s certificate of genetic counseling (i.e., you and your cousin-spouse may well be able to have children together, but they’re going to do their damndest to talk you out of it). I was pleased to see that New Hampshire is one of the 25 states that draws the line at cousin marriage – even Live Free or Die, apparently, has its limits.

I try to be a live-and-let-live sort of gal, but the ick factor of my brother and me having the same grandchildren someday is something I just can’t get on board with.


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