I saw this frame while looking around the local discount stores for some last-minute wedding decorations.
It’s a popular belief that the Southern US is a hotbed of cousin marriage, but you may not know that the United States is the only western nation with restrictions on marrying your cousin. Marriages between first cousins are legal through Canada, Mexico, and Europe, and it’s estimated that 1 in 5 couples worldwide are first cousins. The world is Shelbyville, it seems.
The taboo against cousin marriage has more of a basis in culture than genetics. It’s said that the risk of genetic defects in children of cousins is smaller than generally assumed: at most, 2% higher than the population-wide risk of birth defects, which is 2% – 3%. If those low risks still scare you, genetic screening can help those few at-risk cousin couples avoid it.
The real problem with getting involved with your cousin isn’t genetics, but social. As this article in Slate puts it:
You can move on from an ex-spouse or ex-lover, but there’s no such thing as an ex-cousin. How are your parents and your ex’s parents supposed to handle a nasty divorce or a breakup? How can they support their kids without antagonizing their siblings and their siblings’ kids? You’ve wrecked your whole family. It isn’t as bad as if you’d slept with a sibling, but it’s a lot worse than if you’d slept with a friend or an officemate. We don’t ban you from dating people at the office, but we don’t tell you it’s a great idea, either.
If you get into bed with your cousin, there’s no need for Uncle Sam to throw you in jail. If it works out, great. If not, you’ll find yourself in a jail no uncle will let you out of.