Maryland Cousin Marriage Hearing in Two Days – Please Help!

The House hearing on the Maryland bill banning marriages between first cousins is Thursday. If you have not already done so, PLEASE send this letter by e-mail to the addresses listed so that this unjust violation of marital rights can be avoided. The hearing will finalize the opinions of many House members on this subject, since once they’ve expressed a viewpoint it is difficult to go back when the vote comes (not to mention that the vote is probably a mere few days later). This is the last chance to reach them.

The letter is a logical argument why marriage between cousins should not be banned. Today however I am presenting a personal appeal from someone who posts on the Cousin Couples website and made the journey to Firedoglake to say this:

Mr. Heller’s concern for children and the prevention of birth defects is admirable and important. However, before enacting such legislation based on “gut feelings” or “educated guesses”, shouldn’t we give serious consideration to the medical and scientific evidence available? If statistical possibilities are the driving force of Mr. Heller’s concern, please realize that to be fair we must also outlaw marriage by women over 35, women who smoke, and couples with any of thousands of known and easily identifiable but much more severe risk factors.

Naturally, I have a stake in this proposed legislation. My wife of over 16 years is also my first cousin. We have two beautiful and perfectly healthy daughters, ages 13 and 14, both born in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Their god-parents live in Charles County, Maryland.

You must know that I am not from some “back-woods” area, I’m not some uneducated “hillbilly” or whatever you must be thinking by now. I’m an educated military officer on active duty. I’m currently working toward a Master of Divinity at a major theological seminary. My wife has a Masters in Business Administration. Our eldest daughter outperforms her peers on standardized tests, consistently in the high 90th percentile range on all categories. Our youngest also exceeds the averages for her age group and is exceptionally talented in the arts. I suspect by now that we are not the picture of the typical “cousin marriage” family you might have guessed us to be.

I hope and pray that everyone who reads this will give consideration to the human side of this issue before passing judgment.

As DC Blogger points out, this law constitutes a de facto delegitimization of this man’s marriage. Existing marriages are not dissolved under the law, but passing it sends a message that families like this are bizarre and immoral. In reality, first-cousin marriages make up a percentage of the world’s marriages in the high single digits, comprising hundreds of millions of people.

Please send this letter to the e-mails listed–it only takes a minute–and take a stand against intolerance!

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