Incest and the law:
I have an article from the Boston Globe by Jeff Jacoby, May 2, 2007 which outlines three cases in which brother and sister have married or had love affairs and were brought to court.  None of the three trials worked out well for the couples although the Globe speculated that eventually the incest laws would have to be ruled unconstitutional.  After all, acts that are biologically less productive have been ruled legal.

So far as I can tell from Dr. Ottenheimer, the trend of legislation is in the opposite direction with first cousin marriages being forbidden where they were legal before.  Since genetic screening is now possible, it is hard to see what the objection is except for pure unbridled prejudice.

According to the Globe article incest is no longer a criminal offence in Belgium, France or Holland.  I had heard that it was legal in Sweden, but I made bold to write a dear friend of many years gone by in Lund, who was kind enough to answer.  He said it is still illegal for brother and sister to marry there. The Globe said half siblings were legal couples in Sweden, but I did not pursue the issue.  The question in my mind was whether there had been a recent change and if so what the rationale might have been.  There has been no recent change. 

So far as I can tell we are not yet riding the crest of a wave of tolerance for close marriages.  It is just the usual hammering of the head against the brick wall.  At least it’s something I’m used to.

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