Incestous Uncle-Niece Marriages Now Legal In New York

Alex Griswold Media Reporter
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The New York Court of Appeals has unanimously overruled the state’s prohibition against marriages between uncles and nieces, saying that there was not a universal stigma against the marriages like the stigma against other incestuous marriages.

The ruling in Nguyen v. Holder distinguished between other incest bans, such as between siblings or a parent and a child, which are “grounded in the almost universal horror with which such marriages are viewed. Indeed, until 1893 marriages between uncle and niece or aunt and nephew, of the whole or half blood, were lawful in New York.”

The Court also ruled that there was no basis to arguments that uncle-niece marriages would have an increased risk of having children with genetic disorders. Nguyen and her half-uncle only share 1/8 of their genetics, they noted, the same as first cousins, yet first-cousin marriage is perfectly legal in New York.

The background of the case has to do with an immigration case against Huyen Nguyen, a 34-year-old Vietnamese immigrant who married her mother’s half-brother in 2000. The Justice Department ruled her marriage to her uncle illegal, and attempted to deport her.

Uncle-neice marriage is only expressly allowed in one other state: Maine. Like cousin marriages, uncle-niece marriages were more common throughout Western civilization until taboos emerged relatively recently. No less than Adolf Hitler was the product of such a union.

[h/t New York Post]

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