First Cousins Seek to Have Their Marriage Legally Recognized in Utah

Michael and Angie Lee, first cousins who married in Colorado, seek to have their union legally recognized in their home state of Utah.
WECT/Screenshot

A pair of first cousins who married in Colorado are seeking to have their union legally recognized in their home state of Utah.

Michael and Angie Lee, who wed on Monday in Colorado, said they had been in love since childhood. But the couple did not wed in their home state of Utah because state law prohibits cousins to get married.

The law currently prohibits first cousins from getting married unless they are at least 65 years old, or 55 years old if there is proof neither party can have children.

“As soon as we crossed over the state border, we’re not married anymore,” Michael Lee said.

Shortly after the couple wed, they launched a Care2 petition with a goal of getting 1,000 signatures to get the state to “socially legitimize” their love.

“My first cousin and I have been in love with each other our whole lives but we are prohibited from marrying in the state of Utah where we live. We believe that the law is outdated and it needs to be changed so that we can socially legitimize our love,” the petition reads.

Columbia University researchers found that first cousins are likely to share 12.5 percent of DNA, and couples who choose to have children are at a slightly higher risk than the average couple of having a child with a genetic disorder.

The majority of U.S. states have laws against marriages between first cousins, with 24 states banning the practice outright and six others allowing it only if certain conditions are met, Popular Science reported.

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