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Married siblings...?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
So, I was watching Dr. Phil today and he has a couple on that met as adults (in their 30s) and were married for 15 months before they found out that they had the same father. Now, this particular couple is having problems resulting from this, but that's not what I want to focus on. Forget this SPECIFIC couple, but....

Do you think it is morally wrong for half-siblings to marry if they didn't grow up together?

I think that what makes my sister and brother MY sister and brother was growing up with them. It's like an adopted sibling....he doesn't share your DNA, but that doesn't make him any less your brother....Can it go the other way, too? If you didn't grow up together.....I don't think it's the same. You don't have the emotional connection that you have with the siblings you grow up with.

So, that only leaves genes, which they do share....but why is sharing genes bad? The only REAL danger here is to possible children. Similar genes mean a higher risk of defects. This is because if you get a gene with a mutation from one parent, chances are the other parent gives you a normal one and you're fine. But the more genes your parents have in common, the higher the risk of getting 2 genes that both have the mutation.

IMO, if they take the appropriate precautions to prevent having children naturally, I don't think they're doing anything wrong. As I said, I'm talking about a situation where there was no contact as siblings during childhood. So, if they're not siblings emotionally (like I am with my siblings) and they don't plan to have children, I don't think it's wrong.

BUT, what do YOU guys think??? I'm sure you won't all agree with me!
post #2 of 29
Personally (though I am not conservative in the least), I think it's a little skeevy. OK, really skeevy . But I guess it is certainly their right to marry whomever they choose to- just leave kids out of the equation!
post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ugaimes
Personally (though I am not conservative in the least), I think it's a little skeevy. OK, really skeevy . But I guess it is certainly their right to marry whomever they choose to- just leave kids out of the equation!
Thanks for replying!

Out of curiosity (and in the interesting of conversation ), WHY do you think it's skeevy?
post #4 of 29
Leli,

Ya know, I'm not exactly sure how I feel about it, and how much of how I feel towards the "against it" side is really just social conditioning to this being wrong. I TiVo Dr. Phil every day, so I'm anxious to watch the edisode now

In the situation you describe, where they have had zero contact their whole life, you could easily make the argument that the fact they even find out they are brother and sister isn't assured (far from it)... and if they do find out it could take years (to get into all the possible details of their adoption, or the fact one of their parents disappeared from their life, who the biological parent(s) is and where they are from, and assuming their adoptive parent(s) had that info or were honest about it...)

Which raises the question... do you immediately divorce them? What are your choices here because obviously the fact you're married means you've grown really attached and love each other. It would be a bit hard to "pretend" the marraige never happened, to divorce and to resume with a typical brother-sister relationships, when nothing was typical about it from birth to present.

We of course could get into cultural differences or spiritual differences. The bible apparently says it's wrong to marry (or have this kind of relationship with) a parent, sibling or grandparent. Some cultures have no problems with cousin marrying. Some states in the U.S. have laws strictly forbidding the marriage of siblings. I believe it was in ancient egypt that marrying close relatives was not at all forbidden.

What do I think? Well I think if the two people don't know, it's hard to accuse them of being wrong or "skeezy"... and like I said above, what do they do once they find out, possibly years later? I don't know. Obviously, if they DO know they are related by blood ahead of time (or even if not by blood, but by being raised in the same family), it crosses some healthy boundaries, at least in my mind.
post #5 of 29
Kinda gross, IMO. Guess I've been programmed to think that by society's morals.

Leli, just out of curiosity, what do you think about Woody Allen having a relationship with his step-daughter who was adopted by Mia Farrow and grown when they met?

Cuz, yeah, I think that was pretty sleazy too, even though they had no biological blood between them and didn't have the inherent father-daughter relationship as if he had raised her, and it was legal in the legislative sense since she was over 18 and there was no biological relationship. Still....just gross IMO.
post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb
Kinda gross, IMO. Guess I've been programmed to think that by society's morals.

Leli, just out of curiosity, what do you think about Woody Allen having a relationship with his step-daughter who was adopted by Mia Farrow and grown when they met?

Cuz, yeah, I think that was pretty sleazy too, even though they had no biological blood between them and didn't have the inherent father-daughter relationship as if he had raised her, and it was legal in the legislative sense since she was over 18 and there was no biological relationship. Still....just gross IMO.
That one isn't cool with me, Valanhb....Woody came into that relationship as Mia's boyfriend. So, there's the issue of being in a relationship with a mother and then leaving her for her daughter....that's just not respectful. Infidelity is never cool with me. Plus, if you are a YOUNG adult, which she was if I'm correct, your mother's boyfriend might be in sort of a position of authority....and then there's a question of influence (similar to teacher - student relationships). IF he had met her without being in a relationship of that kind with Mia, and she was of legal age, then....I have no qualms as long as all parties are consenting and old enough.


Just want to add, that while I don't think the sibling thing is wrong, I also don't think it would be easy to make work. And that is totally because of something that both of you guys have mentioned.....social programming.
post #7 of 29
I think it is primarily to do with genes. For some places where close relatives (1st cousins) are allowed to get married the couple must sign an undertaking not to reproduce. Furthermore, the children if they do have genetic defects may pass on the defect to their own offsprings thereby creating a problem that can potential expand past the two close relatives into society.

However, if I am not wrong, inbreeding for animals is an acceptable form of cultivating selective genes to produce a type of animal. But I guess if that is translated to humans there is possibility of creating too much humans with defects.

I do not think ancient Egypt is a good example since for the Pharoahs, they are supposed to marry their sister. Perhaps that is why makeup was invented in Egypt to possibly cover up blemishes caused by inbreeding??
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb
Kinda gross, IMO. Guess I've been programmed to think that by society's morals.

Leli, just out of curiosity, what do you think about Woody Allen having a relationship with his step-daughter who was adopted by Mia Farrow and grown when they met?

Cuz, yeah, I think that was pretty sleazy too, even though they had no biological blood between them and didn't have the inherent father-daughter relationship as if he had raised her, and it was legal in the legislative sense since she was over 18 and there was no biological relationship. Still....just gross IMO.
And what about the accusations of abuse of the daughter he and Mia Farrow jointly adopted? And claims by her adoptive daughters (the two Vietnamese ones adopted prior to her relationship with Allen) that he "came on" to them?

This is a strange topic. I went to junior high school with two kids who became step-siblings at the age of 11, and were sleeping together by age 14. Their relationship was condemned by just about everybody as "incestuous", although they weren't biologically related. The last I heard (about 7 years ago, and we're all 47), they were living together, although not legally married, and had three adult kids.
My best friend's mother died when we were 19. Her father, then 63, got involved with his deceased brother's widow about two years later. They never married or moved in together, because the RC church, and state law, considered that "immoral". They had 15 years together, but those years would probably have been better if they could've cohabited.
post #9 of 29
I guess that if they didn't know they were related BEFORE getting married it would be ok as long as they do not have children.

But, if it happened to me and I found out after we were married, I'd be disgusted and embarrassed!!!!! I would get a divorce ASAP and I don't know if I could ever look him in the eye again. Come on, have a close, intimate relationship with your brother and then act hunky-dory? YUK!

To each his own.....
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amy-DHH
We of course could get into cultural differences or spiritual differences. The bible apparently says it's wrong to marry (or have this kind of relationship with) a parent, sibling or grandparent. Some cultures have no problems with cousin marrying. Some states in the U.S. have laws strictly forbidding the marriage of siblings. I believe it was in ancient egypt that marrying close relatives was not at all forbidden.
actually, i doubt it's in the old testament, since Cain, Abel, Seth & Adam & Eve's other kids had no one to marry except siblings... they belonged to the only human family on earth at the time! i'm thinking it's cultural, but probably developed because it was noticed that inbreeding caused defects. in the South in particular, people married cousins, (sometimes even 1st cousins) until fairly recently... jerry lee lewis (Great Balls of Fire artist) not only married a 13-year-old... she was his cousin, as well! but you rarely see that down here anymore...
ok, now i'm officially rambling; i should stop!
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ugaimes
Personally (though I am not conservative in the least), I think it's a little skeevy. OK, really skeevy . But I guess it is certainly their right to marry whomever they choose to- just leave kids out of the equation!
Skeevy?! LOL! I have never heard of that word but Bless you, you made me smile for the first time since Corkie died!

I agree with you! As long as you leave Children out of it who cares who marries whom! I was not lucky enough to ever be married OR have Children but my Cats and my late Dog are my children, course I would never marry my Brother but might have like to marry a cousin!!!!!
post #12 of 29
It sounds more than a little weird to me. One of my high school friends had a cousin, I think that was the relation, who this happened to. No one told either of the two kids because their parents had been unfaithful to their spouses. Eventually the kids found out and as far as I know they separated. I can't even imagine something like that happening to me. It is incest, pure and simple. I can't imagine falling in love with my stepbrother, and we certainly didn't grow up together.

Does anyone watch Passions? This reminds me of the whole Whitney/Chad situation.
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by laureen227
actually, i doubt it's in the old testament, since Cain, Abel, Seth & Adam & Eve's other kids had no one to marry except siblings... they belonged to the only human family on earth at the time! i'm thinking it's cultural, but probably developed because it was noticed that inbreeding caused defects. in the South in particular, people married cousins, (sometimes even 1st cousins) until fairly recently... jerry lee lewis (Great Balls of Fire artist) not only married a 13-year-old... she was his cousin, as well! but you rarely see that down here anymore...
ok, now i'm officially rambling; i should stop!
Actually, it is in the old testament, but someone else will have to look since I don't have a bible in the house. Apparently in Leviticus chapter 18, verses 6-18, "we are commanded not to marry a parent, a step-parent, a grandchild (and understood and grandparent), a sibling, a brother or sister of a parent (aunt or uncle), or a half-sibling. Marriage between cousins is nowhere forbidden in the Bible." (http://www.gotquestions.org/close-re...ationship.html)

In that same article, the impression I get is that God cut Adam & Eve slack since they were the beginning.

"In the very early days of humanity, there were a limited number of human beings. As a result, marriage between close relatives was often necessary. It was not until humanity increased greatly on the earth that people no longer needed to intermarry amongst relatives. In the early days of humanity, the human genetic code was not corrupted to the extent that it is today. Therefore, it was safe for close relatives to marry and have children. There was little risk of genetic abnormalities in their children. Once the human race expanded and/or the human genetic code became corrupted too much – God commanded against the marriage of close relatives."

I'm not saying these are my beliefs, just repeating what research turns up. I don't like getting into religious debates
post #14 of 29
That's kind of...yucky. But of course, I'm saying this since I've been programmed since birth to think that "relations" with close family is repulsive. I feel for the people that happened to...how terrible for them, to find someone they loved enough to marry and then find out it was their half sibling. On the other hand, they didn't know about it when they met, they weren't raised together and they have no brother-sister relationship. So why not just keep on?

As for the no-kids thing....
Remember, we inbreed our animals all the time and they aren't all stricken with birth defects. Some strains of Arabian horses are heavily inbred, and there's not a genetic disease or defect in them.
post #15 of 29
Putting aside the genetic and moral issues, how about the LEGAL issues? ALL states prohibit incest and some prohibit marriage between first and/or second cousins. In a few states, marriage and/or sexual relations between ADOPTED family members is prohibited.

It would appear that this marriage is LEGALLY null and void and an annulment is in order.
post #16 of 29
Well, I don't know how the various laws are written, so perhaps sharing genetic material but not actually having been raised as siblings wouldn't fall under the scope of the law? Don't know.

Historically speaking, the purpose of prohibitions against inter-family marriage was to protect the wealth transfer process. If you are not exceptionally wealthy, and you marry in your own immediate family, your family gets no monetary benefit. If you are a male and marry outside, your new wife comes with a dowry and the family increases it's holdings. In the case of rulers, it was common practice to marry into the family in order to prevent outside people from getting a portion of the vast wealth and power that comes with rulership (as did ancient Egypt's rulers). Exceptions can be made for marriage between two ruling families, with both hoping that they can absorb the other country this way.
post #17 of 29
I always found it funny that if you marry within your family here, you are a redneck or a hillbilly, marry within a monarch's family, and you're a royal!
post #18 of 29

hehe MoF, you have a point.
post #19 of 29
IMO I think that these two didn't know and cant be blamed for meeting, falling in love and marrying,to have someone to love is what most people would want in life, and through no fault of there own they have been placed in a very difficult position, and I really feel for them.

It is just another example of some people (the parents) not being responsible for the children that they conceive . Having said that, you cant put a old head on young shoulders and we must learn from our own mistakes.
Yes I think it is wrong, if they grow up as a family, full,half,adopted or fostered they are still family. Debbie
post #20 of 29
I don't think I could stay married to someone once I knew we had the same parent. That they married innocently would mean to me that no blame or shame should be attached but once you know........

However, reading Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters, showed me that it was perfectly normal for cousins to marry at that time and place -- kept the land and wealth in the family.
post #21 of 29
Do you think there should be genetic testing before a person gets married? Not just for issues of siblings and close relatives but also to determine the potential for passing on certain genetic defects such as Tay-Sachs. Something like in the show Gattaca?
post #22 of 29
yeah i think it's gross!
post #23 of 29
i think that is horrible!!!
When i was 14, i met my brother and sister who i did not know i had, and i can say that i dont think any less of them to be my bro and sis, that is what they are at the end of the day, but i'd never go and marry one of them!!!
If that were me and i found out my boyfriend was actully my brother, i would.nt be able to handle it, just because they didnt grow up together, doesnt mean they arent borther and sister
post #24 of 29
I felt so bad for those people on Dr. Phil. All those years looking for someont to love, only to find out they are half siblings.
He wants out of the current relationship, and wants to remain close, but she wants to stay married. The funny thing was, they don't really get along that well anyway. They have been fighting like siblings ever since they found out, and like a couple before that. No matter what the moral or legal challenges may be, they seem doomed to fail, especially now that the truth is out.
Personally, I find it creepy that she would want to remain married to her brother.
post #25 of 29
Gives me the 's too!
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpy
Do you think there should be genetic testing before a person gets married? Not just for issues of siblings and close relatives but also to determine the potential for passing on certain genetic defects such as Tay-Sachs. Something like in the show Gattaca?
First off, my answer to the question is no. It should be (and is) available to couples, but should not be required. Second, what would you do with that information? How would you decide that something was too much, and they shouldn't be allowed to have a baby? Seems like a dangerous road to walk.
post #27 of 29
Thread Starter 
First, I want to clarify that I'm not asking whether they WOULD stay married, because I think that the "INCEST IS WRONG" message has been so deeply ingrained in our brains by society that they would be unable to reconsile the feelings they have toward their spouse with their own social programming.....hey, did anyone else just hear somebody say "I'm ever so glad I'm not a Delta......" (<--Brave New World reference ).

So, since it's society that tells us it's wrong, I'm wondering if the genetic screening available now changes the standard at all. I mean, the intimacy you feel toward siblings you grow up with is very distinct and I don't think it could ever change into a sexual type of intimacy, just because your feelings about your siblings develop before you become sexually mature. But if you DIDN'T grow up together.....

The issue of law was brought up, but the law is only there because it is SOCIETY's view....just because something is illegal doesn't make it wrong.

What I'm really trying to get at here is WHY our society considers incest to be wrong. It's not enough to just label something without stating the reasons. The reasons that have been brought up so far have been genetics and, as Obi said, wealth transfer. But, wealth transfer isn't so much an issue anymore and the genetics aspect.....
is it genetically wrong only because of dangers of inbreeding? As was mentioned (sorry, can't remember who), inbreeding does not AUTOMATICALLY or even all that often result in serious defects. To be fair, we all share similarities in our genes. If the issue is defects or diseases, genetic screening can deal with those risks.


Is there anything else that those of you opposed to this would like to add as a reason? Something I'm not seeing.....?

Thanks for replying!
post #28 of 29
I'd say that a modern reason is emotional damage. For immediate family members who were RAISED as immediate family, transmuting the parent-child or sibling relationship into a sexual relationship is not emotionally healthy. With possible rare exceptions, such relationships are almost always abusive in nature. One of the persons involved is using sex to control the other. So, it should remain illegal, so that we can avoid daddy marrying his daughter so that he can continue to warp her emotions and abuse her for the rest of her life. And all the while she'll say how much she "loves" him and everything's fine. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
post #29 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Obi
I'd say that a modern reason is emotional damage. For immediate family members who were RAISED as immediate family, transmuting the parent-child or sibling relationship into a sexual relationship is not emotionally healthy. With possible rare exceptions, such relationships are almost always abusive in nature. One of the persons involved is using sex to control the other. So, it should remain illegal, so that we can avoid daddy marrying his daughter so that he can continue to warp her emotions and abuse her for the rest of her life. And all the while she'll say how much she "loves" him and everything's fine. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
I'm in total agreement with you!
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