Angela Peang and Michael Lee are facing up to five years in jail and a fine of $10,000 for having their first baby.
The married couple from Utah are first cousins and it is illegal for relatives to have an intimate relationship in the state. Incest is a third-degree felony in Utah, and now the two are facing up to five years in prison.
First cousins share 12.5 percent of DNA. Their chances of having a child with a genetic disorder are 4 to 7 percent.
In an interview with New York Post, Peang, who was five months pregnant, said: “We had to do our due diligence because everyone was saying to us: ‘No, don’t do that,’ and ‘It’s so risky and irresponsible.’
“So we did genetic testing and found out it was OK for us to parent together. It was such a relief, now we are planning for a wonderful future together.”
Both 38, the couple drove to Colorado so they could tie the knot as it was illegal for relatives to get married in Utah. Marriage between cousins is legal in many states, including Connecticut, New Jersey, California and New York.
“We got married, not because we’re religious, but to protect ourselves legally. We also wanted to legitimize our relationship to console members of our family, hoping it would put them at ease,” Peang added.
They were only 7 when they first met, and they’ve become inseparable ever since. “The adults wouldn’t say: ‘Where is Michael?’ They’d say: ‘Where are Michael and Angie?’ It felt like a soul connection – as if I could see myself reflected in him,” Peang expressed.
The two launched a petition looking to legalize marriage between cousins and it received 1,500 signatures . “We believe that the law is outdated and it needs to be changed so that we can socially legitimize our love.”
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