An embarrassing fact about United States marriage laws. Powerful point made here.
The abhorrence of first cousin marrying each other is really a more of a cultural thing. For example there wasn't any cultural abhorrence that I can think of with Einstein marrying his first cousin. I mean, it's not like siblings are marrying each other in today america, or at least none that i know of. However in the cultural context of america, you do make a good point.
Rob, I think the main problem is that it limits the number of genetic ancestors which the child has. For example, if a child is born between first cousins, it has 2 parents, 4 grandparents(two of which are siblings) and only 6 great grandparents(normal would be 8). In the majority of cases this will not cause any problems, particularly if the 6 grandparents are all not related to each other at all. Unfortunately, if cousin-marriage is allowed, there is nothing to stop each and every generation doing the same... leading to the kind of genetic risks which these laws aim to avoid.
Correct me if I am wrong here, I am a software engineer with no formal training in genetics or biology.
I personally think relationships shouldn't be regulated one way or another. If adults of sound mind want to form a union with one another, regardless of gender, race, familial relation, or number of individuals involved, they should be allowed. If some wacko from a church says "You're banned from coming here! You evil filthy heathens!" then who cares? Ignore them and continue being miserable like everyone else who - Oh wait, I mean happy. Happy.
Well, that is kind of a slippery slope argument. Saying that allowing cousins to mary could cause many cousins to marry in the family. It could happen in isolated communities, but the pickings are usually slim to begin with there anyway. From I understand it's more of a cultural thing in America to try to not marry anyone with a known relation to one's own family anyway, so the mass inbreeding would be very unlikely. I'm not geneticist either, although I am taking biology courses in college now related to genetics, but I can't really tell you how much genetic diversity there must be in a community to avoid the risk of shallowing of the gene pool anyway. Beside my position is that it's not my fucking business who marries whom anyway, be that they are siblings, gays, strait, interspecies, polygamist, and so on ad infinitum.
All I could think was, "ah, this modern age we live in..."
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