Dating your second cousin legal

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A family affair: Cousins who tied the knot Jerry Lee Lewis The rock 'n 'roll star infamously married his 13-year-old first cousin once removed, 10 years his junior, in 1957.

His popularity initially fell but recovered when he began performing country and western music.

The stigma attached to first-cousin marriages was supported by early studies into human genetics suggesting that "recessive" versions of a gene (which are not expressed unless there are two of them, one from each parent) are more likely to be expressed in the children of genetically related parents, as well as more likely to be defective.

Most states in America have either outlawed or restricted the practice, as has China, Taiwan and both North and South Korea.

H G Wells The science fiction author of The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds married his first cousin Isabel Mary Wells in 1891 but left her after three years to marry one of his students, with whom he had two children.

I would certainly be very uncomfortable with a first cousin arrangement since this would be very close to the biblical prohibition.Jesse James The Missouri outlaw married his first cousin Zerelda "Zee" Mimms in 1874 at the height of the James-Younger gang's reign.They had two children and remained together until Jesse's death, aged 34, 12 years later.There is no scientific grounding for it." In the UK, the issue came to the fore when the MP Phil Woolas, now the Immigration minister, claimed earlier this year that first-cousin marriages within Asian communities in Britain resulted in an increasing number of children with health problems."A lot of arranged marriages are with first cousins, and that produces lots of genetic problems in terms of disability [in children]," Mr Woolas said.

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