Dating first cousins
Kirstie was nine when she first spotted Lyle, 13, at a wedding.
A few years later, the pair bumped into each other at a funeral, and when sparks flew, they decided to stay in contact.
It is actually legal to marry your cousin in 26 American states, as well as in many countries around the world.
These marriages are banned or regulated in China, India, the Balkans and the other 24 American states.
Although the teenagers were strongly attracted to each other, the couple did everything they could to hide their blossoming romance. She likes me, I like her, sounds good.” It wasn't until Lyle's mother approved the relationship - and told them it was legal - that the pair decided to go public.
Kirstie and Lyle knew their family might not accept them. “I didn't know at the time that it wasn't illegal,” says Kirstie on SBS’s Jenny Brockie he was always comfortable with the feelings he had for his first cousin. When they eventually revealed their secret, the family was shocked.
Laws prohibiting relationships between cousins are only applicable to first cousins.
Fourth cousins are not close enough genetically to support a charge of incest or an increased risk of birth defects.
“It was just a bit of a kick in the guts really,” she says.
The reasons for banning marriages among first cousins do not apply.
Continue Reading Laws restricting marriage between first cousins differ greatly between states and countries.
Many governments passed laws restricting marriage between first cousins to prevent birth defects in children.
Children born to parents who are first cousins are more likely to suffer from birth defects than children born to parents who are more distantly related or not related at all.“I personally don't agree with it, but because he's my brother, I'm happy for him.” Kirstie and Lyle now have two healthy children together, but friends and family still find it hard to accept their relationship.