A government-backed German Ethics Council hopes to coerce lawmakers to scrap anti-incest laws, claiming brothers and sisters have a “fundamental right” to marry and have children.
According to the Telegraph, the German Ethics Council is concerned that criminal law is not the place to regulate social taboos, claiming that brothers and sisters should have their own say in whether they prefer to experiment in a relationship together.
“Criminal law is not the appropriate means to preserve a social taboo. The fundamental right of adult siblings to sexual self-determination is to be weighed more heavily than the abstract idea of protection of the family.”
The German Ethics Council decided to proceed with the inquiry after a brother and sister couple were found to have had four children together. Neither of the siblings grew up together and saw their love blossom after they met. The girl was 16-years-old and the brother was an adult. Susan K. and Patrick S., as the media referred to them as, were living together when authorities found out about their relationship circumstances. Patrick S. served three years in in prison in 2008 for incest while Susan K. tended to the children.
Two of their children are disabled. It is not known whether the disabilities were caused by the incestuous births, or if other factors contributed.
Currently, according to Metro U.K., anyone found in a sexual relationship between a sibling or a child is considered to be partaking in illegal activity and could face up to two years in prison. The proposed change to the law would allow siblings to pursue sexual relationships with one another, as long as it is consensual. Sexual relationships with children would still be illegal.
The German Ethics Council voted to repeal the current law, resulting in 14 votes for an appeal, nine against the appeal, and two abstaining from votes. The Council released a statement on Wednesday.
“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.”
According to the Mac Planck Institute, between two and four percent of Germans have had incestuous relationships.
What are your thoughts on the German Ethics Council’s position on repealing the anti-incest law?
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