Thursday, March 6, 2014

Frequently Asked Question: Can Siblings Marry?

The following is based on my understanding. I’m not at attorney and this should not be considered legal advice.

Can siblings marry?

I’m not aware of any government that will currently marry full-blood siblings or recognize a marriage of full-blood siblings; rather, if it was discovered by the authorities after an official marriage was formed that the spouses were, in fact, siblings, the marriage would be dissolved and considered invalid. If the spouses knew they were siblings when they married, they would be subject to prosecution. If they discovered the genetic relationship after getting married, they would have to file for an annulment or dissolution or risk prosecution.

Where sibling consanguinamory isn’t still banned by law, siblings can have a wedding ceremony and live the married life, although under discrimination, as their government will not recognize their marriage and they will not get treated equally.



Sweden will legally marry half siblings under certain circumstances. I’m not aware of any country that currently has more progressive laws or laws as progressive as Sweden.

Some siblings report that they have been able to get a marriage license in places like the US based on the ignorance of the authorities, such as the siblings being born in different states or countries and/or not having a shared parent listed on their birth certificates. However, if the laws of that location do not recognize sibling marriages as valid, or if consanguinamory is illegal in that jurisdiction, a marriage license is a potential piece of evidence that can be used in criminal prosecution, and that’s sad.

If siblings want to get married, they should be free to marry. Inequality, based on prejudice, is counterproductive. All over the world, there are siblings living as spouses; there always has been, some with the knowledge and support of friends and family, some hiding the full nature of their relationship. Sooner or later, full marriage equality will be in place in more progressive places, allowing siblings to marry without discrimination or fear of prosecution. Let’s make it happen sooner rather than later.

This question may be asked many different ways. Can siblings get married? Can siblings marry? Can a brother and sister get married? Can a brother and brother get married? Can a sister and sister get married? Can a sister marry her brother? Can a brother marry his sister? Can a sister marry her sister? Can a brother marry his brother? Can you marry your sibling? Can you marry your brother? Can you marry your sister? Can two sisters marry? Can two brothers marry?

18 comments:

  1. Sweden is not as progressive as it seems, according to Wikipedia:
    "Incest with a descendant or a full sibling is prohibited by law in Sweden. Half-siblings can marry, but require special approval by the government."

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  2. Unfortunate, but not unexpected. Until the day that things change for the better, those of us like me and my brother will continue living together happily as though we were a married couple, even if neither the government nor society officially recognizes such marriages.

    Liz Smith

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    1. You are disgusting. There is a reason that most non-domesticated vertebrates avoid incest. Try figuring it out.

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    2. Well, Anonymous, with arguments like yours, it is easy to see why we're winning.

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  3. Laws prohibiting something do nothing to prevent it. It is only the observance of said laws by people in the position to disregard them that actually prevents anything.

    There is a healthy and profitable market for marijuana and other drugs, despite numerous laws against their possession and usage accompanied by draconian penalties.

    A spousal relationship between two adults which is defined as a marriage...is a marriage. The state has nothing to do with it. Laws prohibiting such a relationship mean nothing.

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    1. Anonymous, you have good points, but there are two main issues here: 1. the possibility of prosecution, which can happen whether or not they marry in a private ceremony of course, and 2. general discrimination against them. They do not have the same rights as other couples, and that can matter in many ways.

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  4. I personally feel that if two people love each other then they should be allowed to marry even if they are siblings.The government should respect the feelings of people.This type of marriage should be legalized and the couples should be given same rights as other couples.

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  5. There may be legal contracts that replicate the benefits of a civil union. Governments shouldn't have any business in the realm of "marriage" at all, beyond civil law agreements.


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    1. Anonymous, I understand the argument you are making. My position is that as long as something is being offered by the government, whether marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, etc., they should be available to all.

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  6. Are you so sure that same-sex sibling marriage is prohibited everywhere? Most US states list the relations one cannot marry, and they are usually explicitly female for men, and male for women. If a state adopts same-sex marriage, unless it actively changes its language, presumably same-sex siblings would be able to marry by default.

    New Zealand's law was expressed in the same way; whether the new law changed that, I don't know. Canada's federal law still refers to "brother AND sister", implying that neither brother-and-brother nor sister-and-sister are prohibited.

    Also, most US states define incest as "sexual intercourse", which sounds like coitus to me. If so, then same-sex incest is not only not illegal, it's not even physically possible! Wonder if anyone has ever used that in his defense in court...

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    1. I've actually seen a same-sex sibling couple talk about this. It might be a valid loophole, but trying it openly risks backlash and changing laws that would get them sent to jail. It's true, in some states the way "incest" laws are written don't prohibit same-sex relationships.

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  7. I find this so interesting. By brother and I have been together for 3 years now. we've had many problems because of course it is a difficult situation. we want to get married and have a family. we've told some people and all of them have been very supportive. Here's the thing, i always compare ourselves with the gay community, 20 years ago they couldn't be seen in public, they were discriminated until finaly society stared to accept them and i think the same thing is going to happen for us. I dont understand why people is against this... I mean, we're not hurting anyone, we are in love and love is a good thing. we are happy together and once again WE ARE NOT HURTING ANYONE. i think it's nasty the way society behaves, most people will not support a couple that loves each other, but they will support war? way to go!! If you're not dating your brother, you dont have to be nasty and bitchy about it, it's not your problem and we're not hurting you... get a real point of view and grow up a bit!

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    1. Anonymous, congratulations on you love. I agree with you. If you haven't done so already, I'd love to get an email message from you.

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    2. where can I email you?

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    3. Fullmarriageequality at yahoo dot com

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  8. Shouldn't we all people that think the same, that EVERYONE that's in love should be able to marry if they want, -everyone, with no exception- do something? Like, go out to the streets, mobilize ourselves? I feel the NEED to do something about it, and not just have an open mind and talk naturally (because obviously it is something natural) about the topic with my family and friends but being politically active somehow, try and make a change, just like GLBT people did decades ago (and look were we are now, with people of the same sex -though not related- being able to marry in some states, adopt, have biological children even, and doing pretty well in surveys about the topic nationwide, even on those states where this marriages are banned).
    I think we need to go out, all, people that is in the situation, in love with a relative and supporters, everyone, we need to have a voice.

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  9. I believe incestuous marriages will be legalized. Now that gay marriage is legal, there is a community of people living in countries where incest is legal that are promoting just such a change. keep promoting it, let people know (this blog is a great start), promote it, and the change WILL happen.

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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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