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.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.
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.
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.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.
The case is Huyen Nguyen v. Eric Holder, New York State Court of Appeals, No. 146.
Congrats to the couple and all who supported and represented them!