EAGLE MOUNTAIN (ABC4 News) – A Utah couple is petitioning for the right to get married; they say their love shouldn’t be limited just because their parents are siblings.
Angie Lee’s father is the oldest of 12 children; Michael Lee’s mother is number five in the same family and the two say they have loved each other since childhood. They were reunited after 10 years apart this winter and say they are finally ready to disregard the risks.
Angie told ABC4’s Sarah Martin, “We said OK this is crazy but we’re adults now, we’re single now, we’re just going to go for it and who cares what our family thinks.”
They are crossing two big hurdles to get married; the most obvious is genetics. According to researchers at Columbia University, first cousins share 12.5 percent of their DNA. First cousins who have children face a 4-7 percent chance of their child having a genetic disorder as opposed to a 3-4 percent chance for an average couple.
The second major hurdle is the law. In Utah, it’s illegal for first cousins to get married unless they are 65 years old, 55 if they can prove they are infertile.
But there is no such law in Colorado, so the two went there Monday to tie the knot.
Angie and Michael Lee say Utah’s law is antiquated and has no real basis for the restriction. Michael said, “We would like to have enough exposure to where we can go into a congressman or senator, someone with political clout and present a case sound enough to get the law changed.”
They have started a petition to gather support for a change in the law.
Michael said, “No one I’ve ever been with will make me feel as perfect as she does. Her being my cousin and some of the responses is a small price to pay.”