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Friday, September 3, 2010

Why I Prefer the Term Consanguineous

Thanks to poorly written laws, we get headlines like this one: “Jury finds Butte Man Guilty of Incest”

The case involves Benny Stewart, 49, who was arrested on Nov. 20, 2009 and charged with felony incest. He pleaded not guilty to the charge in December.

On Wednesday, a jury convicted him of having sexual intercourse or sexual contact with his daughter between January 1998 when she was 7-years-old and November 2009. The verdict was delivered after about three hours of deliberations.

It doesn’t make sense for laws or headlines to use the same word to describe that this man did, which was child rape, to what some consenting adults do to express their love for each other. This man should have been prosecuted for child rape and any other associated crime. He’s a monster. He’d still be a monster even if he had no biological or legal connection to the girl who he terrorized.

As long as “incest” is applied to cases like this, I will prefer the term “consanguineous” to describe consensual sex and relationships between family members and relatives.
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18 comments:

  1. What if such "consanguineous" relations end in pregnancy? What is your response to such a situation? As a biologist, I can tell you that child will not have a fair shot at life, if (s)he lives, and as a person, I find that idea immoral. Having children with disabilities must be difficult enough when it occurs because of uncontrolled circumstances, but when a child is disabled because (s)he received DNA from closely-related parents, I blame them entirely.

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    1. Lizzle, thanks for your comment. Guess what? Siblings can produce healthy, beautiful children. I've seen it for myself.

      Your concerns do not justify laws, prejudice, or discrimination against consanguineous sex and marriage. It is ignorant armchair eugenicists that often say that such relationships inevitably lead to “mutant” or “deformed” babies. This argument can be refuted on several fronts. 1. Some consanguineous relationships involve only people of the same gender. 2. Not all mixed-gender relationships birth biological children. 3. As you can easily research, being a biologist, 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. 4. 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. It is true that in general, children born to consanguineous parents have an increased chance of these problems than those born to nonconsanguineous parents, but the odds are still minimal. If a natural talent or gift runs in the family, the children will also be more likely to inherit and manifest that beneficial result as well. But there are increased odds of problems with births to older parents, too. There's no stigma assigned to that. These days, older women having children is actually especially celebrated, at least in the US. There is certainly no law against it.

      Unless someone is willing to deny reproductive rights and medical privacy to others and force everyone to take genetic tests and bar carriers and the congenitally disabled and women over 35 from having children, then equal protection principles prevent this from being a justification to bar this freedom of association and freedom to marry.

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

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    2. Just because siblings *can* produce seemingly healthy children does not mean there aren't issues and the point is the chance of producing children with defects is seriously increased. Humans have evolved to be an outbreeding species for a reason and lizzle is right, you seem to be arguing using mainly Reductio ad absurdum.

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    3. Anonymous, thanks for your comments.

      People with Huntington's Disease are not prevented from reproducing, even though there is a much higher chance of passing along the disease than the average birth to siblings.

      You have not provided a compelling reason to take away a woman's reproductive rights in such cases.

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    4. No however people with Huntingdon's are seriously advised not to reproduce and there is no guarantee of it being diagnosed before pregnancy.

      On top of which there is a distinct difference between the two things, as one group already have the rights and the other don't, the idea of taking away someone's right to do something and not giving people the right to do something are very different things. The likelihood is that there are a reasonable number of people who think people with serious genetic disease that do have a 50% of being passed shouldn't reproduce but don't think getting a right such as that retracted is ever going to happen.

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    5. Again, so there is no law against people with serious diseases like Huntington's Disease from having sex and children, and yet there is against two people who have relatively healthy genes having sex, even if they are the same gender.

      I support EQUAL rights. You apparently don't.

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    6. have to say here that the daughter born to my uncle and me is both beautiful and smart , shes funny , loves to paint and draw , read and dance and in NO way do I see her as " unable " to have a good life , shes happy and loved and a sweet kind person. So its not always a bad situation

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    7. i need to say something here , MANY people have been born into this world normal and healthy and didnt even know they came about as the result of incest , I have a child with my partner who is bright sweet happy and very smart for her age . Her father is my fathers half brother . Denying happy consang couples the right to have children together isnt right when other unrelated couples knowingly have kids even when they know they could pass on genetic problems such as Huntingtons or TaySachs.

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  2. As someone who has two beautiful healthy children with my brother, I can tell vouch for everything you are saying ;-) I was anxious when I first found out I was pregnant, as I semi-believed all the crap out there about children being born with significant birth defects etc, but having been through testing with both my pregnancies and seen the living proof, I can assure you that this is not the case. As pointed out above, there are people out there with genetic conditions and older women who have babies. Nobody tells them they shouldn't have children.

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    1. Anonymous, thank you so much for reading and for speaking up. Congratulations and good for you and your brother. If we haven't been in contact before, please contact me privately at fullmarriageequality at yahoo dot com or at www.facebook.com/FullMarriageEquality

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  3. We have been in touch before :-) I'm lilsis but couldn't put my name on the comment for some reason, lol.

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  4. The word "neocest" has been proposed for a sexual relationship between two people who are biologically related closer that the law allows, but who's relationship is consensual, both are adults, and who make love with each other (as opposed to having sex with each other). Google the word "neocest" and get a story with which I am intimately familiar....

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    1. Neocest certainly is shorter. Thanks for that, fore you'd comment, and for the search tip.

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  5. it's so hard to deal with all the hate sometimes. people like Lizzle, who condemn, but no manner of logic can convince them otherwise. i makes you wanna give up sometimes. if it weren't for mr Keith, i probably would have given up. keep at it! you make a difference in this world! i've seen it for myself!

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  6. My brother and I have been deeply in love with each other for over 40 years and have been forced to live in secret and apart. We live in different states and only get to spend time together once or twice a year, it break our heart everyday to not be allowed to live our life together due to hatred and disgust in society, as well as fear of legal prosecution. We never had any children together, we wish we could of married and live together, instead we have been forced to live in pain everyday. Some have called our relationship "GSA" Gentic Sexual Attraction, we have been through every possible emotion, wondered what was wrong with us, but for us there is not guilt, no regreat, it feels natural for us to be together, there is no shame, the heart love who we love but due to society we are forced to live our life's apart and heart broken, never allowed to show our deep love for each other in public and live free. I have started to write a book about our lives together and apart and what we have suffered.

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    1. Anonymous, thanks for sharing that. I would very much like to hear more about your love. You can write me at fullmarriageequality at yahoo dot com

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  7. it would be interesting to talk to children of such couples and really see how healthy they are both physically and mentally. really unless people did close inbreeding for generations the only problem would be lack of diversity in antibodies.

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To prevent spam, comments will have to be approved, so your comment may not appear for several hours. Feedback is welcome, including disagreement. I only delete/reject/mark as spam: spam, vulgar or hateful attacks, repeated spouting of bigotry from the same person that does not add to the discussion, and the like. I will not reject comments based on disagreement, but if you don't think consenting adults should be free to love each other, then I do not consent to have you repeatedly spout hate on my blog without adding anything to the discourse.

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