Cousin marriage taboo in gay marriage?

Is there a taboo or even a law against same sex cousins marrying one another in any place?

Hell, are there any rules to stop two same sex siblings marrying?
I can’t see any justification for there being one at all since their genes are never going to meet but it seeems the kind of thing that would be prohibited just cause of wooly thinking. Question counts for civil partnerships and other marriage like things as well.

In Canada, there is no special law that allows same-sex marriage. Instead, when SSM was legalized, the language in the old law that said that marriage was a union between “a man and a woman” was changed to “two persons”. The law that governs same-sex marriages is the exact same one that governs opposite-sex marriages, so all the restrictions are the same, regardless of the sexes of the marrying couple.

That means that two same-sex cousins are permitted to marry each other, just like two opposite-sex cousins would be. In the same way, two brothers would be barred from marrying each other, just like a brother and a sister would be.

Where SSM is legal the same laws apply equally to same and opposite sex people.

I can’t marry my brother in Massachusetts.

There doesn’t seem to be a movement for the rights of those who wish to have incestuous marriages so I don’t see a compelling need to change things.

That’s just it, most of the marriage legal prohibitions prevent babies with the genetic deck stacked against them.

With same sex marriage it’s a whole new ball game and these kind of questions have been glossed over.

Under English law, the following are forbidden from entering into a civil partnership: -

  • Parent and child (including current or former adoptive parents)
  • Grandparent and grandchild
  • Siblings
  • Uncle / aunt and niece / nephew (if related by blood)

There are restrictions on entering into a civil partnership with someone who used to be married to one of your parents or grandparents. (If they married your parent or grandparent before you turned 18, then it’s forbidden)

There are some weird restrictions on entering into a civil partnership with someone who used to be your mother/father/son/daughter -in-law. Basically, it’s only allowed if both parties have been widowed.

These restrictions are all listed in the Civil Partnership Act 2004. As far as I know, the reason behind the restrictions is to prevent sham marriages (e.g. marrying a sibling to avoid inheritance tax).

Sorry, I didn’t actually answer your question, did I? Civil partnerships between cousins are legal in the UK.

And they will continue to be glossed over. As a supporter of gay marriage there is no way in hell I’d support legislation that made separate laws for gay marriages and straight marriages.

If a group wants to do away with the incest limitations that marriage laws include, so be it.

These questions also don’t come up because the odds don’t support very many gay people having siblings that are also gay.

And of course, there’s no guarantee that an incestuous same-sex married couple wouldn’t have some of the same problems with genetic defects in offspring that incestuous opposite-sex couples have.

Stop staring at me with that weird expression and let me explain. Many same-sex couples who have children deliberately arrange for the child to be genetically related to both partners, right? E.g., Lesbian Partner A does artificial insemination/in vitro fertilization with the sperm of Lesbian Partner B’s brother or something like that.

Well, there’s no reason to think that many incestuous same-sex couples wouldn’t want a similar kind of arrangement for their child. But in their case, the child’s biological mother would be much more likely to be dangerously closely related to its biological father.

I don’t believe there can be much traction for legalizing sibling same-sex marriages, as the marriage-related rights (“Next of Kin” designation and suchlike) which same-sex couples are seeking are pretty much included in familial relationships already.

Tell that to a gay marriage activist in a place with civil unions…

I don’t think the two cases are really very analogous. The point about the status of “marriage” versus “civil union” is that the latter is very obviously designed to be a sort of separate-but-equal version of the former. (And no, civil unions in the US do not automatically supply the same federal protections that marriage does.)

But the status of “marriage” versus, say, “siblings” isn’t like that. Being siblings is not an artificially constructed near-equivalent of being married. Nobody becomes somebody else’s brother or sister for the sake of the hospital-visitation rights.

Also, it’s quite likely that eventually medical technology will allow two people of the same sex to have children together; research in that direction is already going on.

You might as well say that medical technology will also allow any significant genetic weaknesses to be weeded out.

I am strongly in favour of ending all laws against incest, which I consider to be a human right, so I wanted to check out what is going on here as gay marriage is about human rights too and I would just like some rationality in the world

It will, eventually. And at that point perhaps we’ll reconsider the ban on sibling marriages (but probably not).

I don’t think that is correct. I thought some recent studies showed that having a gay/lesbian sibling increases the odds that a younger sibling will also be gay/lesbian. I know that such a correlation has been found in studies of twins.

The odds of the following child being opposite sex and heterosexual is still considerably higher than the odds of a gay sibling of the same sex.

I’m not saying two gay children of the same sex can’t be born to the same parents as I know this not to be the case. My younger brother is also gay, but I don’t know anyone else where this is the case.

I’m saying the issue is almost exclusively a heterosexual one. Households tend to have far more heterosexual children than homosexual ones.

I think you are more likely to find a brother and sister who can not produce children and want to get married than you are two same sex siblings who want to get married.

Sterile opposite sex siblings who want to get married offers a very similar situation to the one in the OP and has probably occurred in the past yet our marriage laws weren’t expected to change to accommodate them on the mere possibility of that existing.

The gays for incest movement is probably a lot smaller then the heterosexuals for incest movement. Even together they’d number as almost non-existent.

I seem to recall reading of some state or another where the restrictions against incest were more lax in cases where there was no possibility of the couple having biological children. The laws were written with the post-menopausal in mind, but would also apply to same-sex marriages, if that state allows them.

Yup, same as with straight marriages.

The restriction isn’t only because any resulting biological children are at higher risk of having kids; it’s there to discourage abusive incestuous relationships. After all, if it were only about the children then none of the restrictions even for straight marriage would apply to women over 50 and there’d be no laws about marrying step-parents or adoptive parents.


I’m not aware of any special rules for hetero couples who can prove they are infertile; the law is very simply written (usually?) and disallows certain unions. At the time it was intended to prevent mixing closely related genes. Today, the current decisions tend to be that the same law applies to mixed- and same- sex marriages, i.e. no discrimination absed on gender.

I suppose logically there’s no logical reason for prohibiting close relation marriages, or with today’s medical expertise, determining that a couple is infertile and allowing that. (Although I shudder to think of the soap opera plotlines that creates - you can be married if she has a hysterectomy…)

Is there a difference between marriage as a legal contract defining relationship and marriage as a official recognition of the legitimacy of a sexual relationship?

I tend to argue for same-sex marriage in the former terms, to allow people to give their partner hospital visitation rights, survovor benefits and suchlike. If the OP is approaching the question from the socially approved sex partner angle, we may well be arguing past each other.