THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Email leak was 'to wreck honours inquiry'
Listen with Mother

Couple stand by "forbidden love"

Link: BBC NEWS | Europe | Couple stand by forbidden love.

This brother and sister did not grow up together in the same family. If they had, most people would instinctively find the whole story too revolting for intelligent discussion. They met as adults, but interestingly did know that they were brother and sister when they fell in love. They now live together as a couple and have four children. They wish to continue to live together, but have fallen foul of the law. Patrick has already done jail time for incest and is likely to do more.

Heart There is no doubt that, biologically, incest is a bad idea. The risks of birth defects are much higher. However, that is true in many other cases which are not regulated. Other people whose chromosomes would never ideally be combined can make their own judgements about whether they should have children. I suspect we would all advise this couple not to breed, but should the law interfere in the matter? The attempted interference here has not prevented the birth of four children, who are probably now glad to be alive.

No third party suffers from these people being together. Their one child not already suffering from having been "taken into care", would suffer from them being apart. Generally speaking, the state does not interfere in people's choices of sexual partner, even though they are often ill-advised. The decision to have sex with someone is often taken on less than rational grounds and falling in love is an even more difficult area for legislation.

We can no longer really run the "unnatural" argument. The British and German States are very strongly in favour of people's freedom to consort sexually in ways which were, for most of human history (and are still by the majority of living humans) considered "unnatural."  Perhaps our view of incest as "unnatural" is also due for revision?

PolizeiSo what do you think? Are these people being unfairly punished for the breach of outdated social and religious norms? Is the German State interfering with their civil liberties? Or is this a valid law which should be enforced? Is it the sexual relationship that should be illegal? Or would it be sufficient to legislate against such a couple reproducing? If we were to legislate against reproduction on these genetic grounds, then why not on many others?

Finally, if incest should be criminal, is it right that the man should be punished and not the woman? How would you feel about Susan doing the next stint in jail? What about the children, while one or both of their parents are in jail? Also, how will they feel when they grow up knowing that German society thought it disgusting, to the point of criminality, that their parents should have produced them?

What is your view?