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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New York Moves Closer to Full Marriage Equality

A Friend of Lily bought to my attention this Reuters report at yahoo.com by Daniel Wiessner
Nearly a century after the same court annulled a marriage between an uncle and his half-niece, New York's top court said on Tuesday that a woman's union with her half-uncle was lawful.
It’s progress, no matter how small.
U.S. immigration officials in 2007 said Vietnamese citizen Huyen Nguyen's marriage in 2000 to her mother's half-brother, U.S. citizen Vu Truong, was void and sought to deport her. A federal appeals court asked the New York Court of Appeals to decide whether such marriages were lawful.

Nguyen was aged 19 and Truong was 24 when they got married.

The U.S. Justice Department claimed an 1893 state law that bars marriages between "a brother and sister of either the whole or the half blood," as well as "uncles and nieces or aunts and nephews," applied to Nguyen and Truong.
But it doesn’t specify half-uncles or half-aunts. It also doesn’t specify that a brother can’t marry a brother or a sister a sister or an uncle a nephew or an aunt a niece, although other laws may apply. We touched on these topics recently here.
According to court documents, Maine is the only state that expressly allows marriages between uncles and nieces or aunts and nephews. Courts in four states, including Kansas and Missouri, have upheld such marriages, while about 30 states have banned them.

The case is Huyen Nguyen v. Eric Holder, New York State Court of Appeals, No. 146.
See this map from The Final Manifesto. We need to get rid of the ridiculous patchwork of which adults are going to have which rights in different states and have nationwide full marriage equality so that an adult is free to marry any and all consenting adults.

Congrats to the couple and all who supported and represented them!
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Zimbabwe Still Sending Consenting Adults to Prison


Even though marriages between first cousins are legal (and common) in much of the word (including being legal in many US states) and always have been, the authorities in Zimbabwe think it is a great use of government resources to prosecute and imprison cousins for the "crime" of loving each other. Here's a report from southereye.co.zw...

Benedict Daka and his cousin Michelle Daka appeared before the Western Commonage magistrate Tancy Dube, where they pleaded guilty to incest.

Benedict was slapped with 15 months imprisonment, but he will serve nine months after six months were suspended on condition that for the next five years, he does not commit a similar offence.

Michelle was sentenced to a 15-month prison term with six months being suspended on condition that she does not engage in a prohibited relationship. The remainder of her term was suspended on condition that she performs 315 hours of community service at Western Commonage Police Station.

And who is the victim of their "crime?" Oh, that's right. There is no victim.
In their defence, the couple mentioned that they were so much in love with each other and could not stay apart.
They shouldn't have to.
Prosecutor Kenneth Shava told the court that Benedict approached his cousin, whom he stayed with in 2012 and proposed love to her.

She accepted the love proposal and soon Michelle was expecting their first child.

Michelle’s mother, Sibonisiwe Nyoni, said she realised that there was something amiss and set out to investigate.

So Sibonisiwe is the rat. Too bad she didn't read this. She should be more like this person.

They couple is now expecting their second child. You can assume nothing is wrong with the first child, or that would have been mentioned in the article.

There is no good reason to drag them into the courts and prison. They should be free to marry, if that is what they want, and protected against haters.
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Monday, October 27, 2014

We Get Letters From Allies


It has been too long since this blog regularly published letters (emails and comments) we get as new entries, and perhaps soon we will go back through some and clear off our desk.

Yesterday, Anonymous left this touching comment on our Genetic Sexual Attraction page. (I edited for punctuation and clarity.)

I am not in a GSA relationship but two family members who I love dearly are. The fact of what others want to negatively judge not only just breaks my heart and [I] want to cry for my female relative in this relationship so she doesn't have to anymore. The fact that she feels she must keep such a secret from her friends and society is horrible. She seems to struggle inside so much with her heart and with what everyone else has thought, said, or might think and say if they found out. [This] hurts him 'cause the distance she keeps him at. With all she has been through with other guys [it] would be great without the stigma of them being related. Like her, I don't understand why it is so wrong when I [have] never seen two people make each other so happy and love each other so much.

How and why does society make it so hard for them? I ramble and am upset as I type this. I am a very emotional person when it comes to the people in my life I love and care about, so please excuse my explosion of words in trying to make sense of this all. I just want so much to know what to say or do to not make her feel wrong. I can't figure it out myself, which I hate [as] I have no way to help her realize that the love they feel and show each other when they are together (non-sexual people!) is what people yearn for till we die. It [is] just so mind-blowing and shows me how society is a 'hater' upon all of us. If anyone could tell me what to do to help her not feel so wrong... and should feel truly in love and not feel wrong for it, please let me know. I don't care that they're related. How could it be so wrong when they make each other so happy? I don't get it! GRRRRRRRR!

Thanks for listening.

Thank you, Anonymous. Allies, especially allies within the family, are so helpful.

These links should assist you in being there for them...

Advice to Friends and Family
How You Can Help
How Consanguineous Lovers Can Avoid Trouble
Where to Discuss Consanguinamory
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Facebook and Twitter and More

Have you joined the Facebook group yet? Join "I Support Full Marriage Equality."

You should also like this page, Full Marriage Equality, and we meant that.

Are we Facebook friends? I want to be friends with all who support full marriage equality and relationship rights for all adults. Here I am.

Are we connected on Twitter? Here I am.

Are we connected on Tumblr? Here I am.

If you don't want to connect, still feel free to send me a note. I can be reached at fullmarriageequality at yahoo dot com

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Are You Willing to Help Media?

More and more requests are coming in from media (newspaper and magazine journalists, radio and television producers, documentary filmmakers) seeking those involved or experienced in consanguineous romantic or sexual relationships, whether initiated through Genetic Sexual Attraction or not. As usual, I’m talking about consensual relationships, not abuse.

The right media projects can greatly advance the rights of people in consanguinamorous relationships by raising awareness and showing people that these relationships are nothing to fear, and are often quite beautiful and healthy relationships.

So, what I'd like is to know who is willing to participate, so I know ahead of time who would help with something like this. Before you say "not me!" please continue reading.


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Help for Friends and Family of Consanguinamorous Siblings

Our friend Gott has done great service and had given this blog permission to repost what was posted on Tumblr. I recommend following that Tumblr blog. What is below is all Gott's work; it is not mine...

(Here is a PDF version of the full text)

This is for the benefit of friends or family of romantically involved siblings, who may have recently discovered their secret. Though I’ve used “incest” in the title, I won’t continue to use the terms “incest” or “incestuous,” I will use “consanguinamory” and “consanguineous” (pronounced “con-sang-gwin-am-or-ee” and “con-sang-gwin-ee-us). “Incest” is too loaded a word for intelligent discussion, and I only ever use it for sexual abuse. If I say “consanguinamory”, assume I am talking about consensual sex. (I’m going to assume that the couple is opposite-sex, but most of this also applies for same-sex couples.) Remember: there’s a difference between love and abuse.
This might be long, but bear with me. All of your concerns are about to be addressed. If you truly love them, you will have the patience to read this.


- INTRODUCTION

First, stop and take a breath. I know that this must be a lot to take in. I seriously doubt that you’ve ever sat down to consider the possibility of this happening. I don’t expect you to be calm, but I do expect you to care enough about their well-being to seriously consider what I’m about to say.

Did you discover them accidentally? If so, talk to them individually – with an open mind – and make sure that there was no coercion. Ignore the taboo nature of what you just found out. If you have no evidence of coercion or manipulation, then do not try to project abuse where there is none, and do not force them to internalize your own sense of what’s “taboo.” Why would you ever want to burden them with so much unnecessary guilt and shame? Talk to them together, and get the story from them, calmly. See how they act together. Remember to treat them with respect, especially if they’re already adults; it’s what you would want for yourself.

Did they come out to you on their own? Then there’s even less chance that there was any coercion involved. In fact, coming out to you is one of the bravest and most trusting gifts they could ever give you. Not only is their love extremely taboo, but even if they are adults, in most places on Earth they could be thrown in jail, possibly for the rest of their lives. You could get them thrown in jail. Every person they tell is a potential threat who could ruin their lives forever, getting them locked up for years and permanently placed on the sex-offender registry. And yet, despite all that, they told you. They could have lied – it wouldn’t have been easy, but they could have – but they told you. However much you thought they trusted and loved you, they just proved that their true trust and love is greater.

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Consanguinamory and Reproduction

One of the most common reasons given to object to the right to consanguineous relationships is what I call the "mutant baby" argument. Even some people who support the right to consanguinamory and have even engaged in consanguineous sex themselves join with bigots in being strongly against close relatives having children together because of prejudiced backlash or the increased risk of birth defects.

In regards to the prejudiced backlash, the answer is not to let bigots have their way. It is for bigots to lose their power to bully, prosecute, and break up homes. Don't want children of consanguineous parents to have a hard time? Do not give them a hard time.

In regards to the increased risk of birth defects, scientific understanding is often lacking.

Most sexual encounters do not result in a birth. Many people who have relationships or marry never have genetic children together; some people in consanguinamorous relationships choose not to. So, we must recognize the differences between sex, marriage, parenting, and reproduction, and not ban the first three because of concerns about the last one.

But let's deal with that last one.

Most births to consanguineous parents do not produce children with significant birth defects or other genetic problems; while births to other parents do sometimes have birth defects. There are happy, healthy, bright, attractive people born to close relatives who are productive members of society. We all know some, whether we know it or not, and whether they know it or not. It is that common. (Sometimes, they were conceived by an abuser, but often, not by an abuser but by mutual lovers.) We don’t prevent other people from marrying or deny them their reproductive rights based on increased odds of passing along a genetic problem or inherited disease. For example, it is entirely legal in the US and most other places for someone with Huntington's Disease to date, have sex, marry, and have genetic children. How can such rights be denied to people who are genetically healthy, simply because they are close relatives?

It is true that in general, children born to consanguineous parents have an increased chance of genetic problems than those born to nonconsanguineous parents, but the odds are still minimal. (UPDATE: Please see this wonky elaboration on Tumblr, written by a Friend of FME.) There are US states and there are countries where consanguinamory is not illegal or at least it isn't prosecuted. Sweden will legally marry half-siblings in some circumstances. A comparison of the rate of genetic problems in these places to places that criminalize and actively prosecute consanguinamory reveals no discernible increase in genetic problems in the places that embrace this relationship right.

If a natural talent or gift runs in the family, the children born to consanguineous parents will be more likely to inherit and manifest that beneficial result as well; a birth benefit. But there are increased odds of problem with births to older parents, too. There's no stigma assigned to that, and it isn't illegal for older people to date, have sex, marry, and have genetic children together.

Anyone concerned about these things should have genetic testing and counseling. People who are not close relatives can pass along health problems, too.

The "birth defects" argument also implies that people with disabilities or some other birth defect are living lives so terrible that they should never have been born at all. Yet, there are many such people who are leading happy, fulfilling, productive lives.

But a current problem, in some (not all) cases, is that in giving birth, consanguineous parents will be outing themselves to someone who is prejudiced, and there will now be evidence of their (in some places) illegal love that can be used against them.

There are consanguinamorous parents happily raising their healthy children together. But some consanguinamorous relationships face very real threats. Again, the answer is to stop the persecution and prosecution. There is no good reason to deny consenting adults their equal protection of having their relationship and reproductive rights.

Consanguinamorous or not, anyone engaging in heterosexual intercourse should be aware of the possibility of pregnancy, the various forms of birth control and other options available, and the realities if pregnancy, birth, and raising children.

With all of that in mind, let's look at this thread on a consensual incest discussion board. (The discussion is explicit, so if you have a problem with that, you are warned.)

carebear82 wrote…

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Friday, October 24, 2014

What Genealogists Know

With each previous generation you trace back, the maximum possible number of your genetic ancestors doubles. You can have 2 parents, up to 4 grandparents, up to 8 great-grandparents, up to 16 great-great-grandparents, etc.

On average, there are about four generations per century. For people born in the year 2000, their 8 great-great-grandparents were probably born around 1900. Sometime around 1800 their great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents were born (there may be up to 128 of them). About 29 generations back, or roughly around the time of 1250-1300, the total number of your possible ancestors for that generation equals or exceeds the total population of the planet, which was about 500 million people.

What gives? Well, first of all, if all 500 million of those people were your ancestors, they would also be the ancestors of all of the rest of us, too.

Secondly, you probably don’t have every person alive back then as your ancestor. There wasn’t a lot of interracial or intercultural parenting going on back then. People were more isolated, more people lived in rural countrysides rather than dense urban areas, and people were not nearly as geographically or socially mobile as they are today. It was very common for a person to be born in and to die in the the same village or town, having lived all of her or his life there.

This means that for many, many, many, many generations, there was a lot of what most people would call today “inbreeding.” If your spouse wasn’t your first cousin, your spouse was likely a second or third cousin, or a second cousin-once removed, our even your double-cousin, etc. And as I’ve noted before, even if they weren’t marrying them, people were having children with siblings, aunts or uncles, etc. (Even if not having children together, what do you think went on, given that pubescent teens, like most children, were usually sharing a bedroom?) Not only did these things not destroy humanity, but in Europe, the Renaissance was birthed in these conditions.

Coming back to around 1800, very few people are likely to have 128 great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents, just like very few of those people in 1800 had 128 of them in 1600. Because chances are, some of your recent ancestors were cousins, if not closer. If you marry your first cousin, you have no more than six genetic grandparents between you, instead of eight. If your parents are first cousins, you have six great-grandparents instead of eight.

If “inbreeding” was as detrimental as common misconception says, none of us would be here.

 
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Discussing Consanguinamory


Consanguinamorous relationships are often ignorantly dismissed as dysfunctional, sick, or abusive, and sometimes the "incest" discussions found at porn sites do little to dispel that impression. However, and Kindred Spirits forum, which is NOT a porn forum, the discussions are sincere and reflect how real, beautiful, and in many ways, "normal" consanguinamorous relationships can be.

For example, here's a woman describing her relationship that was initiated through Genetic Sexual Attraction...
For [us] the most important things are the respect that we have for each other and remembering to always listen. [He] is my best friend, my partner and my lover. We have often wondered if the reason the sex is so good was because of the brother/sister element. We decided that we just fit together perfectly for what ever reason. Being non judgemental of each others desires and taking time to learn about what we both need.
He walks in the door after work and we are both just happy to be in each others company again especially knowing that we would give almost everything up to protect what we have.
Why would anyone want to kill such love? Why should they have to hide? Why shouldn't they be free to be open about their love and, if they want, to marry? There's no good reason.

If you want to discuss consanguinamory (consensual incest), I know of no better forum than Kindred Spirits, which is free. But if you join, be sure to immediately read and follow all of the rules, or you'll be kicked right off. If you are a Friend of Lily, it can be very helpful to join with others to discuss life in general, as well as the love you have or had.

At their site, this is the icon for Frequently Asked Questions...



This is the icon you use to register.


 And this is the icon you click to sign in.
 






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Tale as Old as Time

This blog is about relationship rights for all adults, especially the right to marry any and all consenting adults. It is not about criticizing nor promoting any philosophy towards religion, spiritual considerations, superstitions, the paranormal or supernatural, any religious text or writings/traditions/beliefs/practices/systems/organizations considered sacred, inspired, of authoritative by some, nor skepticism when it comes to such things.

There are both allies and opponents of relationship rights and full marriage equality in just about every religion and among those who claim no religion, and I welcome allies no matter what tradition, if any, they prefer or reject.

With that out of the way…

Considering the Bible as literature, which anyone can do whether they are a devout Christian, a Deist, a Hindu, an Atheist, or an Antitheist or take some other path, one can see that the Bible implies, outright portrays, and further addresses consanguineous sex.

Frequently, someone will ask “Where did Cain get his wife?” or “Did Adam and Eve’s children have sex with each other?” or some variation. Whether someone considers this speculation about fanciful myths or actual history is irrelevant to analyzing what the text itself says.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ten Reasons Why Consensual Incest Is Wrong

1) Some people get abused by relatives. That makes consensual incest wrong the same way abuse/assault by non-relatives makes sex in general wrong.

2) Many people are disgusted by the idea. If something disgusts many people, it must be wrong for everybody! People are so disgusted by the possibility of having sex with a close relative that they always get DNA tests before having sex with anyone, to just be sure they aren’t having sex with a relative.

3) It increases the risks of birth defects, and anything that does that is wrong and shouldn’t be allowed, just like we don’t allow pre-menopausal women over the age of 35 to have sex, and we don’t let anybody with obvious, serious inheritable diseases have sex. Yup, this is why it is wrong for two half-brothers to fall in love, or why stepsiblings who didn’t even meet until they were teenagers shouldn’t be together. They might make a mutant baby!

4) It’s illegal in some places, and something being illegal always makes it wrong. You know, like harboring runaway slaves? That’s why having sex with your first cousin is wrong in Texas but just fine in almost every other US state, half of which legally marry first cousins, and why consensual incest between closer family members isn’t wrong in Rhode Island, which has no laws against consensual adult incest.

5) It’s not natural, and people should only be allowed natural things, like bicycles, smart phones, and iPads. OK, maybe it is natural in some species. But we shouldn’t lower ourselves to the behavior of other animals, who make wars and pollute the planet.

6) Someone’s religion is against it. And if someone’s religion is against it, nobody else should be able to do it. You’ll never find examples of acceptable consensual incest in the Bible.

7) There are so many people you’re not closely related to. That makes consensual incest (consanguinamory) wrong, just like there being plenty of people in your own race makes interracial relationships wrong.

8) Only rural poor people would ever do such a thing, not royals or educated people. And anything done by rural poor people is wrong.

9)There is often a power differential in consensual incestuous relationships, and relationships with power differentials are just wrong. That’s why no President of the United States, Senator, Governor, judge, district attorney, or police chief has ever been married, and we bar wealthy or intelligent people from marrying someone who isn’t as wealthy or intelligent as them. Yes, power differentials are exactly why half siblings close in age, even if they didn’t meet until they were adults, shouldn’t be allowed to be together.

10) It messes up family structures and dynamics. That’s why every family’s dynamics are always required to be evaluated and corrected by outsiders, and people are never allowed to break up if a breakup will mess up the dynamics of the family. And people are never allowed to work with family members, as that could cause conflicts or too much reliance on family. Yes, messing up a family dynamic is why genetic relatives who were raised by different families should never be allowed to be together.

Yup, we need to let all of those people who’ve found that a close relative makes the best life partner for them, or perhaps just a trustworthy sexual partner, know what they are doing is wrong and they should stop, and go settle for someone else, who I’m sure will be just fine being the B-list choice for someone who’d rather be with the person they see when the family gets together. People need to make sure they aren’t doing anything that makes anyone who’s not involved uncomfortable. That needs to come before their happiness.

This bit of sarcasm is brought to you by someone who supports the rights of ALL consenting adults to their relationships with any and all consenting adults.
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Season 2 of My Five Wives is Underway


Not to be confused with another polygyny show, "Sister Wives," "My Five Wives" is back for a second season on TLC. Here's what Erin M. at realitytea.com has to say...

my-five-wives1A quick recap of Season 1 shows us Brady Williams and his struggles with his five wives (in order from first wife to 5th): Paulie, Robyn, Rosemary, Nonie and Rhonda.
It’s summer time at the compound (are we aloud to call their homestead that!?). Nonie wants another baby & is emotional over it “taking so long” to conceive. I guess 24 kids are just not cutting it. Brady claims he is fertile, so no worries in that department. Rosemary is glad to have more relaxed time with the kids, while Robyn has dreams of writing a book. Rhonda is nervous about the results of her next mammogram (she had a breast cancer scare last year). Paulie says things are great & is planning her 23rd wedding anniversary with Brady. As the first “empty nester” of the group, she reflects on how much time she has on her hands now. Don’t worry, Paulie! More kids are on the way via a uterus near you.

She gives a thorough recap of the season premiere.

Over at tvruckus.com is Mechele R. Dillard's take...
The wives, of course, are sharing one man; it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to understand how that is a pressure cooker just waiting to blow. And, the children are placed in, at minimum, numerous social potholes growing up—explaining why one has five “moms” probably gets tired after a while, one would imagine.

Shows like this will help increase awareness.
Apparently, there are up-sides to this lifestyle somewhere, but it is hard to glean just what they are from MY FIVE WIVES. “We just love each other,” Brady has said many times in his explanation of just why this group has chosen polygamy. But, to be frank, none of them (at least, the wives) seem particularly fulfilled by the practice. They are all constantly focused on worries, jealousies, differences, etc. with other wives and their relationships with the group husband.

"Reality" television is still television, episodic television at that. Often with shows like this, the entire season is recorded ahead of time and heavily edited to tell a story that leads to some climax at the end of the season. Often, participants are encouraged by those putting the show together to play up conflicts and emotions.

There are many potential upsides to polygyny, depending on the participants, including sharing resources, multiple parents and role models for the children (as most polygynists do have children), companionship, and how about it being the kind of relationship the adults want? Mabne none of these people would be happy in a monogamous relationship. Yes, there are complaints and concerns, but just about everybody has such about their own lives and relationships. It is possible these women would have many more "downsides" to talk about if they were in monogamous relationships or no relationship at all.

I'm glad there are some US-based polygyny shows and that there was a Polyamory show. Because there are many forms of polyamory and  there's other forms of polygamy in addition to polygyny, I'd like to see more shows, whether dramas, comedies, or reality shows, as long as they give realistic portrayals.
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