My Classmate Wanted to Marry Her First Cousin and Even Though it is Legal, Our Church Forbade it

Yana Bostongirl

***This is based on a true story, one known to the author. Names have been changed to protect individual identities. Retold with permission***

My classmate, Gemma, is a stunning beauty who has a lot of admirers both in college and outside of it too. But she has eyes for only one person and that is her first cousin, Chris. In other words, she was in love with the son of her mom's older brother.

While in some cultures and religions, marriage between cousins is considered normal and a way of keeping wealth within the family, in others such as the Catholic religion, cousin marriage is forbidden as this excerpt explains: "Under the law of the Catholic Church, couples were also forbidden to marry if they were within four degrees of consanguinity."

Gemma and Chris's families are strict Catholics.

So you can imagine the uproar it caused in the family when the news of the relationship between the two first cousins came out. The two love birds had kept their romance under wraps for some years fearing this sort of negative reaction. However, they did not expect the extent of the outrage. While her parents tried to dissuade her from the relationship, Chris's parents were stunned that he picked his first cousin to date out of all the available fish in the sea.

They would not accept the fact that love is blind. The parents even roped in the local priest to talk some sense into them but the young couple remained firm in their decision to be together.

Chris who was a few years older than Gemma later opted for a job out of the country mainly because his parents refused to accept his choice of life partner. When Gemma graduated college, the couple quietly applied for a special dispensation from the Catholic church which was granted albeit after a long wait.

They had a quiet marriage which was attended by few friends and college mates. None of their families or relatives were conspicuously absent. Last I heard was that Gemma had moved abroad to live with her husband far away from prying eyes.


Do you think Gemma and Chris's parents should have taken such drastic measures against the couple given that they are adults and free to marry whom they chose?

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