German brothers and sisters are on the verge of being able to have sexual relations without worrying about breaking the law and going to jail. A government committee has said laws that ban incest are a violation of right to sexual self-expression.
The case centres on a Liepzig man, Patrick Stuebing, who was adopted as a child and later met and married his biological sister and together have had four children. Stuebing has been in violation of German law and jailed. While in jail, all of his children except one were removed from his wife. Two of the children are disabled.
Stuebing lost an appeal to the German Federal Constitutional Court two years ago lost at the European Court of Human Rights, the Court saying the German ban on incest did not violate his rights under the European Charter on Human Rights. After repeated appeals at various levels, Stuebing took his case to the German Ethics Council which has issued the following statement:
“Incest between siblings appears to be very rare in Western societies according to the available data but those affected describe how difficult their situation is in light of the threat of punishment. They feel their fundamental freedoms have been violated and are forced into secrecy or to deny their love.The majority of the German Ethics Council is of the opinion that it is not appropriate for a criminal law to preserve a social taboo.In the case of consensual incest among adult siblings, neither the fear of negative consequences for the family, nor the possibility of the birth of children from such incestuous relationships can justify a criminal prohibition. The fundamental right of adult siblings to sexual self-determination has more weight in such cases than the abstract protection of the family.”
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