Parent who wants to marry own child sues to overturn laws banning incest

Two New Yorkers have mounted a legal challenge against the laws on incest, saying it shouldn’t be illegal as it’s a matter of "individual autonomy".

They say they want the law changed so that they can be allowed to marry.

The parent argues "through the enduring bond of marriage, two persons, whatever relationship they might otherwise have with one another, can find a greater level of expression, intimacy and spirituality," in a legal claim filed earlier this month.

In the papers, the couple stress that they are both legal adults and that they are "unable to procreate".

The couple – a parent and child – have asked to remain anonymous because they fear a public backlash.

According to court papers, they recognise that an incestuous marriage is "an action that a large segment of society views as morally, socially and biologically repugnant".

The lawsuit explains: "Parent-and-adult-child couples for whom procreation is either virtually or literally impossible can aspire to the transcendent purposes of marriage and seek fulfilment in its highest meaning."

And the parent claims it would "diminish their humanity" if they were unable to marry their child.

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As it presently stands, incest is illegal under New York state law, carrying a penalty of up to four years in prison.

However, in 2014 a New York couple who were uncle and niece managed to get their marriage legalised.

Vietnamese citizen Huyen Nguyen, 34, successfully fought for legal approval for her marriage to her mother’s half-brother Vu Truong, 38.

But even that ruling stated that "parent-child and brother-sister marriages . . . are grounded in the almost universal horror".

In this case, the hopes of a successful outcome are slim.

Legal expert Eric Wrubel told the New York Post: "It’s never gonna fly.

"The closest you can come is Woody Allen, and that wasn’t his daughter, it was an adopted child whom he never adopted and it still turns people’s stomachs."

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