A pair of first cousins from Utah is fighting for the right to get married in their home state, saying their love shouldn’t be limited just because their parents are siblings.
Michael and Angie Peang-Lee were married Monday in Colorado after they say they’ve loved each other since childhood. But the couple can’t be legally married in their home state of Utah because they are cousins.
“As soon as we crossed over the state border, we’re not married anymore,” Michael Lee said.
In Utah, it is illegal for first cousins to get married unless they are 65, or 55 if they can prove they are infertile.
The Lees say that the Utah law is antiquated, and there is no real basis for the restriction. They started a Care2 petition and are gathering signatures in hopes of changing it.
“No one I’ve ever been with will make me feel as perfect as she does, and her being my cousin and some of the responses is a small price to pay,” Michael Lee told CNN. “I’ve always loved you, Angie. You know that.”
Their “Allow first cousins to Marry in Utah” petition had less than 10% of the support goal Wednesday morning.
First cousins on average share 12.5% of their DNA, 23andMe reported. Children with first cousins as parents have a 5% chance of inheriting a single-gene condition, double the average 2.5% risk, according to the Genetic Literacy Project.
The couple says it all started with a crush in the second grade.
“We just always played a lot,”Peang-Lee told CNN of her childhood interactions with Lee. “We went into a closet and we were kissing and dancing together. It just felt really natural.”