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Should consensual incestuous sex be punished?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
German siblings who didn't grow up together, and have parented four children, are fighting Germany's incest laws before the German Constitutional Court. Two of their children are reported to be disabled, and three have been taken from their custody.
http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,...stories-24-rdf
http://www.guardian.co.uk/germany/ar...022008,00.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6379785.stm
http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/...253397,00.html
Should incest be considered a criminal offense? It isn't in several countries, as the articles point out. Should criminal law be used to protect moral beliefs? Suppose inbreeding were ruled out by sterilization: Should the people involved still be put in prison for having sexual relations with a close relative?
post #2 of 19
Although looked down upon, no I don't believe it should be punished. The govenment does not need to police morals like this.
post #3 of 19
I think brother & sisters having sex is just way wrong, period. But I don't think they should be punished ONLY if they didn't already know that they were so closely related. If they knew and did it anyway, then I think they both need serious psychological help.

However, I don't think that it is so much of an issue when there is distance. For example, a close friend of mine married and had two children with his 3rd cousin. The children are healthy and happy, as are my friend and his wife, and this is a marriage built to last.
post #4 of 19
I think it is wrong and should not be allowed. It is immoral and inbreeding is bad news.
post #5 of 19
I actually did a little research on this becuase my ex sister-in-law was dating her first cousin anyhoo, in the case of first cousins, there is only a 7% chance of the children developing birth defects/disabilities, while in completely unrelated couples there is a 5% chance... not too much of a difference, eh? First cousin marriage has been practiced forEVER and only recently, within the last century or so, has fallen out of favor. I didn't read the articles, but if these people did not know that they were that closely related than no I don't think they should be punished at all, if you didn't know than how can you be at fault?
post #6 of 19
Even though I think it's wrong, I have no idea how such a law would be enforced. It's not like the two people under normal circumstances would admit to it.

Also, there is a reason that incest feels so "wrong". It's the one cultural norm that every single group regardless of race, creed, color, religion, or origin has. Perhaps if people wouldn't try to override that we wouldn't have situations like this one.
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by katiemae1277 View Post
I actually did a little research on this becuase my ex sister-in-law was dating her first cousin anyhoo, in the case of first cousins, there is only a 7% chance of the children developing birth defects/disabilities, while in completely unrelated couples there is a 5% chance... not too much of a difference, eh? First cousin marriage has been practiced forEVER and only recently, within the last century or so, has fallen out of favor. I didn't read the articles, but if these people did not know that they were that closely related than no I don't think they should be punished at all, if you didn't know than how can you be at fault?
They knew they were siblings when they got involved following their mother's death. I have no idea if they share the same father, or who reported them to the authorities.
A few legal experts here have argued that the German incest law is a direct result of the Nazis' attempt to forge a "master race", which I find to be a bit farfetched. The Basic Law, i.e., constitution, was written after WWII with Allied guidance.
I know a married couple in the U.S. who were raised from the age of 10 as step-siblings, and have never quite decided how I really view their relationship.
post #8 of 19
Cousins...maybe... Not me personally, but as far as the incest taboo, that is one that doesn't hold up. Lots of groups and people and places in history thought it was perfectly fine for cousins, and it's okay in a whole lot of countries and US states today.

But siblings is a horse of a different color. People who would not shudder at the thought of it are few and far between, and for good reason. While cousins only share a smaller percent of their genetics, siblings share much much more... plus it's just gross. Plain and simple.

For the most part, though I have to say that other people's personal lives are none of my durn business... but these people shouldn't have kids. And that is the main point of the law, to prevent their reproduction, as it is basically tantamount to child abuse.
post #9 of 19
Although I don't think it's right..I don't think it should be a criminal act.
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post
They knew they were siblings when they got involved following their mother's death. I have no idea if they share the same father, or who reported them to the authorities.
A few legal experts here have argued that the German incest law is a direct result of the Nazis' attempt to forge a "master race", which I find to be a bit farfetched. The Basic Law, i.e., constitution, was written after WWII with Allied guidance.
I know a married couple in the U.S. who were raised from the age of 10 as step-siblings, and have never quite decided how I really view their relationship.
okay, that's just really weird then while what they do behind closed doors is their own business, I whole-heartedly agree that they shouldn't have been able to reproduce, and I honestly can't understand why they did? like I mentioned, between cousins the incidence of birth defects is not that prevalent, but between siblings, even half siblings, it must be astronomical! everyone must know that!

that example you mentioned is a bit hard to wrap your mind around.... with today's famiy dynamics akll twisted and turned you never know who you might be related to anymore!
post #11 of 19
Isn't that anyone's worst nightmare... find out you married your sibling. Punishable offence... not really sure, but I think it's pretty gross.
post #12 of 19
If you had met any of my brothers, you'd understand why I find this repugnant.
post #13 of 19
Personally, I find it morally wrong for siblings to be having sex, but while there are not children involved, I don't think the sexual relationship itself should be punishable by law. I don't think it is the place of the legal system to push its morals on the issue. In most countries it is the relationship and not the pregnancy which is illegal which in my mind is wrong. What people do behind closed doors and not affecting anyone else is their own business regardless of my (or anyone elses) opinion on the matter.

As far as cousins, like said above, personally it is not for me, but my cousins are married and I do not have a problem with it. They decided a long time ago that their relationship meant more than having children. Additionally, from what i remember them discussing with the family when they got together, the chance of their child being born with a birth defect, should they have decided to have children, is similar to that of the woman being 30 or older at the date of conception and that is far from outlawed.

From what I remember from reading articles about the German case is that they did have the same father, who had tried to murder the boy and he had fathered the girl but never known her as they divorced before she was born. The parents has also had 6 other children die from unspecified illnesses, so I would imagine that disabilities run in the family and this, rather than just the incest, played a part in this couple's childrens' problems
post #14 of 19
There are what, six billion people in this world? I think I could avoid dating my brother Todd or my cousin Tony. That is just plain weird. I do think incest should be illegal, regardless of whether they are of age and consenting. We've managed pretty well in this state with outlawing incest. It isn't that hard to find a date!!
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post
They knew they were siblings when they got involved following their mother's death.
If they didn't know until after they'd become involved that would be one thing, but to know they were related and still go ahead....

I think we can all agree it's not right, I don't think it should be a criminal offence though.
post #16 of 19
I guess the fact that they didn't grow up together makes it a bit different as they won't feel like brother and sister. Which raises the question of what aspect of incest makes it the most repugnant - the fact that 2 people are genetically similar or the fact that they grew up together? I don't have a brother myself but can understand the "Eww... " response that most people would have at the idea of having a relationship with a sibling, but assuming a couple had no children which would people find the most distasteful - a couple who are biologically brother and sister but were not raised together or a couple who are not biologically related but were raised as brother and sister?

I don't think this couple should be punished by law although I do find it rather distasteful. I think what people do behind closed doors is up to them, although when they have children that's a different matter.
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by urbantigers View Post
I guess the fact that they didn't grow up together makes it a bit different as they won't feel like brother and sister. Which raises the question of what aspect of incest makes it the most repugnant - the fact that 2 people are genetically similar or the fact that they grew up together? I don't have a brother myself but can understand the "Eww... " response that most people would have at the idea of having a relationship with a sibling, but assuming a couple had no children which would people find the most distasteful - a couple who are biologically brother and sister but were not raised together or a couple who are not biologically related but were raised as brother and sister?

I don't think this couple should be punished by law although I do find it rather distasteful. I think what people do behind closed doors is up to them, although when they have children that's a different matter.
It is icky, but 2 consenting adults *should* legally be able to do that. I do feel very sad for the children that are affected though
post #18 of 19
It really creeps me out.
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by lakeriedog View Post
It really creeps me out.
That is about the nicest thing i can think to say also
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