The Case For Cousin Marriage (Hey, Darwin Did It)

marrying a cousin

Having children with your cousin—how dangerous is it really?

You know we've made great social strides when the New York Times reports that marrying and having children with your first cousin may not be all that bad, afterall.

The article "Shaking Off The Shame" attempts to dissect and tell the stories of several cousins who fell in love, married and are pleased as punch to share a bed with family. Even typing this enacts some sort of ingrained gag reflex, but as the paper points out, it's hard to discern if aforementioned repulsion is the doing of inaccurate propaganda. Proposal: Polygamy For The Rich

Contrary to popular belief, cousin spawn won't necessarily be webbed with gills, four eyes and two noses. In fact, the Times report that some studies claim the chances of spina bifida and cystic fibrosis with children of cousins is about as common as a child born to a woman over 40. The risk of infant mortality is only 3.5 percent higher then that for non-related couples.

Diane B. Paul, a professor emerita of political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and a research associate in zoology at Harvard says whether or not a baby is born with defects depends heavily upon each parent's genetic makeup. In essence, such things are very difficult to determine, and can't be pinned on the fact your grandparents are siblings. Monogamy Akin To Incest? Really?

So why not just shack up with that cousin you always secretly thought was hot? Is it really such a big deal? Why not snag your own "cusband" (shudder) as one of the cousin wives affectionately calls her beau.

Yeah—birth defects or not, cousin shagging isn't a trend we're likely to adopt. But we took a look throughout history and found some people who did, and boy were we surprised.

1.) Charles Darwin: Darwin married his first cousin, Emma Wedgwood, and had ten children with her.

2.) Albert Einstein: Einstein married his second cousin, Elsa.

3.) Franklin D. Roosevelt: Amazingly enough, Eleanor and Franklin D. Roosevelt were fifth cousins once removed.

4.) Rudy Guiliani: The former New York City mayor married his second cousin, Regina Peruggi.