Cousin couple petition for Utah to recognize their marriage

Data pix.

They're first cousins, they're in love and they're challenging Utah's law that says they cannot get married.

On Monday, cousins Angie and Michael Lee eloped to Colorado where they could legally get married, according to the New York Daily News.

Their home state of Utah, however, will not recognize marriages between first cousins unless they are both over 65 years old or they're over 55 and can prove they're infertile.

Even though his dad is her mom's brother, the two say they've been in love their whole lives.

“This is a lifelong friendship and we love each other,” Angie told the Daily News. “I would say that this is something that I wouldn't expect people to understand if they weren't going through it themselves.”

Even their family has come out against their union.

"We have family members who have still been like, this is wrong,” she said. “The more social support we can get, the more I think we’ll feel like we won’t be excluded from the family.”

To push for that support, the couple started a Care2 petition titled, “Allow first cousins to Marry in Utah." In more than two weeks, the petition gathered more than 80 signatures, still a far cry from the 1,000 signature goal.

According to 23andMe, first cousins share an average of about 12.5 percent of their DNA. By contrast, 6th cousins share only about .01 percent.

Because of this, when first cousins have children together, those children are more likely to develop mood disorders and have a 5 percent chance of getting a single-gene condition, according to the Genetic Literacy Project. For children whose parents are not first cousins, the risk is half that.

“I’m not really worried about it,” she told the Daily News.

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