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For your reference, this increase in birth defect rate is about the same as the increased risk of a woman having a baby when she is 40 vs. Proponents here point out that few would advocate banning a 40 year old woman from having children. In fact, in a number of countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Yemen and in the Palestinian Territories, paternal parallel cousin marriage is the preferred form of consanguineous marriage.

In modern western society, marrying your cousin is not well accepted, particularly in the United States.Through a combination of old prejudices and present-day conventional wisdom about inherited birth defects, first cousin marriage is seen by many as a little too close for comfort, as well as a bad idea if you want children.However, first cousin marriage is far more common, and far less dangerous, than many of us have been led to believe, as you’ll soon see.Further, if you include second cousins in the mix, according to the , the increased risks with regards to having children are nearly non-existent in this case compared with non-cousin marriage.Banning Cousin Marriages While there have been instances of the banning of marriage between cousins at various points through history, such as the Roman Catholics banning the practice for a time starting with the Council of Agde in 506 AD, for the most part marriage among cousins has been popular as long as people have been getting married.

In fact, it is estimated that as many as 80% of the marriages in human history have been between first or second cousins.This switch in cousin-marriage’s acceptance began in earnest in some parts of the Western world in the mid-19th century. Natural Selection himself, was married to his first cousin Emma Wedgwood.Specifically, until the 1860s or so, first cousins commonly married in Europe and the U. Nonetheless, the practice soon fell out of fashion in the United States.Although never outlawed in England, during the second half of the 19 century, many states began to ban marriages between first cousins, as part of a larger movement after the Civil War for greater state involvement in a variety of areas, including education, health and safety.Researchers note that the distinction in marriage bans between England and the U. may be explained by the fact that, in the United States, the practice “was associated not with the aristocracy and upper middle class [Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were second cousins] but with much easier targets: immigrants and the rural poor.” Regardless, cousin marriage bans began popping up across the states, with the first in Kansas (1858).Ohio, NH, NV, ND, SD, WA and WY banned the practice in the 1860s, and many more had enacted bans by the 1920s.