Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Cousin Marriage

Al Jazeera showed a provocative news report that debated the pros and cons of First Cousin marriage. It is taboo in the U.S. and the Catholic Church, but it has not the same stigma in the Middle East.  One researcher suggested that between 10 and 15 percent of Bedouins practice First Cousin Marriage and the percentage rises when there are Second Cousin marriages. I watched the news show because it was both bewildering and intriguing. I wouldn't have given a second thought to allowing cousin marriages.

Two reasons that were given for the propensity of cousin marriage is the accumulation of wealth and the strengthening of the marriage. Most reasons against such marriages has to do with the consolidation of genes and the increased likelihood that recessive genes in families will result. Grotesque genetic deformities result when generations upon generations marry within the family, clan, or tribal structures.

Education levels also increase when people intermarry with other cultures. Tolerance for other customs and practices increase and healthy inter-personal relationships develop. Societies are actually strengthened genetically and socially when cross cultural marriages occur. I will do more research on this because it fascinates me. I wonder how many societies over the centuries used this practice.

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