This is true both of devout Christians as well as those who may have some vague, indiscernible root in the Christian faith.

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The parents of parallel cousins are also siblings but are of the same sex (this chart may help explain). First cousins marrying in 21 century America discover that many states no longer regulate the practice.

In cultures where cross cousins are encouraged and parallel discouraged, it is often an inherited taboo, passed down from when there was greater inter-marriage and inter-mingling among the members of an extended family – with a greater chance that first cousins could also be half-siblings: Fathers who are also brothers may overtly or covertly share sexual relations with the wife of one or the other . Likewise, most sects of Christianity do not forbid it, which would be hard to do given cases like Isaac and Rebekah in the Book of Genesis.

Ohio, NH, NV, ND, SD, WA and WY banned the practice in the 1860s, and many more had enacted bans by the 1920s.

The most recent state to ban cousin marriage was Texas in 2005.

For instance, the Methodist Church, has “no official position on marriage between cousins.” Nonetheless, it’s not easy being in a first cousin marriage in some regions of the world.

As one man in such a relationship recently discussed, some members of the couple’s immediate family no longer speak to them and have never met the couple’s children.A recent report on births in a British-Pakistani community (where first cousin marriage is very common) demonstrated that first cousin children there were twice as likely to be born with “potentially life threatening birth defects” as compared with the children of unrelated parents. [unless a] mother had a brother whose wife was impregnated by [mother’s husband].Advocates on the other side point out that this resulted in only a 6% chance for the children in the study, as compared with a 3% chance for the population as a whole. This is not very likely to happen in modern societies that practice first-cousin marriage.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.They also point to recent testing that placed the increased risk of spina bifida and cystic fibrosis at only 1.7% -2.8% higher than for children of unrelated parents. Cousin Marriages Today Globally, cousin marriages are still going strong, with an estimated 10% of all marriages in the world being between cousins, and has high as 50% in some regions of the world.Although the teenagers were strongly attracted to each other, the couple did everything they could to hide their blossoming romance. She likes me, I like her, sounds good.”It wasn't until Lyle's mother approved the relationship - and told them it was legal - that the pair decided to go public.