Sweden: should cousin marriages be banned?
In Sweden's discussion about migration policy and the honour and clan culture the focus has shifted to cousin marriages. In Gothenburg, the Social Democrats and the Sweden Democrats are calling for a nationwide education campaign on the associated medical risks. Commentators lay out historical and social arguments.
We need this discussion
Although it's highly unusual for the Social Democrats to agree with right-wing populists, the debate in itself is important, writes paediatrician Mats Reimer in a commentary for Göteborgs-Posten:
“It is certainly optimistic to say that banning cousin marriages will allow people who have fled clan societies to better integrate into society. However genetic risks aside, the fact that cousin marriages are rarely voluntary should be reason enough for the government to stop skirting the issue. The Social Democrats in Gothenburg are on the right side of history.”
Learn from neighbours and history
Sweden should follow the example of its neighbouring countries in this matter, advises Expressen:
“Denmark has a basic rule of rejecting family reunification in the case of cousin marriages; and in Norway, the parliament voted for a complete ban on cousin marriages last November. In principle, a ban can be seen as a restriction of civil rights. In practice, however, it would give more people in Sweden the right to marry whoever they want. It would also counteract the honour and clan culture. According to a number of scholars, it was precisely the Catholic Church's long struggle against marriage between close relatives that paved the way for individualism and independent institutions in the Western world. The government should launch an inquiry with the aim of banning cousin marriages.”