Forbidden Relatives: The American Myth of Cousin Marriage

Overview

Forbidden Relatives challenges the belief - widely held in the United States - that legislation against marriage between first cousins is based on a biological risk to offspring. In fact, its author maintains, the U.S. prohibition against such unions originated largely because of the belief that it would promote more rapid assimilation of immigrants. A social anthropologist, Martin Ottenheimer questioned U.S. laws against cousin marriage because his research into marriage patterns around the world showed no ...
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Overview

Forbidden Relatives challenges the belief - widely held in the United States - that legislation against marriage between first cousins is based on a biological risk to offspring. In fact, its author maintains, the U.S. prohibition against such unions originated largely because of the belief that it would promote more rapid assimilation of immigrants. A social anthropologist, Martin Ottenheimer questioned U.S. laws against cousin marriage because his research into marriage patterns around the world showed no European countries prohibit such unions. He examines the historical development of U.S. laws governing marriage, contrasts them with European laws, and analyzes the genetic implications of first cousin marriage. Modern genetic evidence, Ottenheimer says, doesn't support the concept that children of these unions are at any special risk.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252065408
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.97 (w) x 8.95 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 U.S. Laws Prohibiting the Marriage of Relatives 19
2 The Reasons for U.S. Laws against First Cousin Marriage 42
3 European Laws Prohibiting the Marriage of Relatives 61
4 European Views of Cousin Marriage 79
5 The Evolutionary Factor 94
6 Biogenetics and First Cousin Marriage 116
7 Culture and Cousin Marriage 134
Bibliography 155
Index 169
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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2008

    informative and unbiased

    i am a conservative and i also know my bible- there is a social stigma attached to this issue-a very unnecessary one! i am a librarian and have researched innumerable topics-there are only laws AGAINST this sort of union in the appalachian areas 'exactly where you would mistakenly think it occurs more frequently'-statistics show that the educated lawmakers and voters of 25 states very wisely do not prohibit this union and they are the citizens held in the highest regards when we are told after the fact about their marital status! an additional 6 states allow first cousin marriage with stipulations involved (only 19 need to take old laws off of the books, which ironically predate genetic info available-some by as much as 200 years) check out the most brilliant minds who married first cousins-albert einstein, oscar wilde, franklin & eleanor roosevelt etc..... need i say more??

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