Can you marry your adopted sibling?

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In this blog we will answer the questions “Can you marry your adopted sibling?”

We will also discuss whether it is illegal to marry your adopted sibling, if there are any laws against adopted sibling marriages. 

Can you marry your adopted sibling?

Yes, it is possible for adopted siblings to be legally married however, this depends on the laws of the country and state related to incestual relationships. 

In the US, there is no law that prohibits or is against the marital relationship between two consenting adults who are adopted siblings provided that they share less than 25% DNA or are not related within the 4th Degree. 

This means that state laws will permit the union provided that there is consent from both adult individuals involved and authorization from the court and from other family members.

Within the UK, the marital union between adopted family members is legal between adopted siblings.

However, marriage between two adopted siblings might not be legally permitted if the incest laws of some countries include prohibitions in the case there is incenstual relationships between biologically-unrelated individuals, especially where they are legally bounded together as family as in the case of adoption and step-siblings. 

This is because most laws make no provision for the rare case of marriage between two people who have a lower degree or percentage of shared DNA.

It is also possible that adopted siblings might not be permitted to marry by religious leaders in their society because of the view that adopted siblings are no different from biological siblings when they are adopted.

The laws regarding incestuous realtionships in most countires is clear- most countries deem icest illegal. However, the law surrounding step sibling marital unions is not as clear. 

In the UK and the US, since step-siblings are not biologically related, it is most probably the case that your state laws will permit your union provided that there is consent from both individuals involved and authorization from the court and from other family members.

In some societies, there might also be a need to get the consent and permission from religious leaders, social leaders, or the head of the family for the union. All of this has to do with social acceptance of unions related to step siblings. 

The legality of whether you can marry your step sibling also depends on:

  • The nature of the family relationship of the parties involved which means that there should either be no biological connection between the two people involved or that their genetic connection should be less than 25 percent. 
  • Age of the parties where both parties should be consenting adults.

It is these factors that play into account whether the union is legal or illegal and also counts for the severity of the punishment that is dealt to perpetrators of the crime as well as whether conviction is passable in these cases. 

Now, another important factor that plays a role in the conditions that surround the legality of relationships between two family members is the degree of relationship between the people- usually looking into the degree or percentage of shared DNA. 

Is there a law against adopted sibling marriages?

In the US, there is no law that prohibits or is against the marital relationship between two consenting adults who are adopted siblings provided that they share less than 25% DNA or are not related within the 4th Degree. 

It is most probably the case that state laws will permit the union provided that there is consent from both adult individuals involved and authorization from the court and from other family members.

Within the UK, the marital union between adopted family members is legal only in some cases. A parent, even if they are not biologically related to the child, cannot legally marry their adopted or step child. 

However, adopted siblings with no biological relationships and step siblings with no biological relationships are permitted to marry by law. 

In some societies, there might also be a need to get the consent and permission from religious leaders, social leaders, or the head of the family for the union. All of this has to do with social acceptance of unions related to step siblings. 

Is it common for adopted siblings to marry?

It is not very common for adopted siblings to marry however there is no official research that gives an estimate about how common it is for adopted siblings to marry. 

However, writers at Family law attorneys estimate that sexuality between adopted -siblings is rare but it does happen. Due to lack of research and statistical estimates, it is not possible to give a number of how common it is nor of it’s prevalence. 

However, reseachers suspect that sexual and romantic relaitonships between adopted -siblings does occur however, lack fo research chould be because of the taboo surrounding incestual relationships including relationships between non-biological siblings due to the bond created by the institution of marriage shared by the parents of step siblings. 

While adopted -siblings are not connected by blood, it is still frowned upon because the children- adopted or not- are raised together as siblings as part of one unit, which makes it unacceptable that two “siblings’ ‘ develop a romantic relationship with the desire to marry. 

When it comes to getting married as adopted siblings, it is not as simple as the legal and cultural ban on insectual marriages or unions. 

When it comes to incestual relationships between two siblings or other family members it is considered illegal in most cases and is frowned upon in most if not all modern societies.

Incest is a culturally rejected and even persecuted practice, which in some countries is even illegal, while in others it is tolerated but without any legal recognition of the union through marriage.

In almost all religious codes it is viewed as an immoral, forbidden union and it often curses the offspring. 

The rejection of incest can be understood as a result of human being’s preferences of exogamny over inbreeding as a way to help the species survive and flourish- as a result of biological and social concerns. 

Given that individuals belonging to the same family share a high percentage of their genetic material, incest was considered a union that impoverishes and reduces the genetic variability available for future generations, thus increasing the incidence of hereditary diseases and defects. 

However, in the case of adopted siblings, the threat of biological consequences is not urgent; rather, the rejection of such relationships arises based on how society will view the people involved- that is, the parents of the adopted siblings, the peers, extended family members, co-workers etc. 

In most counties and cultural societies, even if you are adopted siblings with no biological connection to each other, it is generally frowned upon and this might impact the marital union of two adopted siblings where they might not disclose their relationship to each other making it difficult for accurate data collection regarding prevalence.

While the rate of prevalence is not specified, it does occur and there are various factors as to what increases the risk of such relationships between adopted siblings. These include:

Family dysfunction

In recent studies of family functioning, incest has been understood as a result of family dysfunction. Disturbed family relationships lead to a shift in roles and expectations that can lead to children taking on the role of parents leading to incest. 

One particular example is the fictional story of “Flowers in the attic” where the older siblings take on the role of parents and engage in incest. 

It is possible that one of the causes that drives sibling incest is because the adopted -sibling develop a bond in the face of dysfunction and abuse from negelectful or abusive parents. 

No biological Taboo

Adopted siblings do they have the biological natural taboo that keeps them against and away from sexual contact with each other because they have no shared DNA even if they are raised together.

This lack of Shared DNA is not the cause of adopted sibling incest but it can make it more probably that this form of contact occur between two people who are adopted siblings.

Demand for closeness 

As the adoptive family gets together and there is an active encouragement by the parents and other adults for the children to become more close and share a familial bond, it is possible that this can take an unintended turn. 

The demand for closeness and affection between two individual, basically strangers, can  create an unspoken expectation that adopted children will move toward one another- ideally in a platonic and familiarly regard, 

However, it is possible that non-sexual advances can become sexual and sexual implications can also develop in the case of most sexuallly developing teenagers who do not have a mature boundaries and development. 

Developing teenagers

Another risk factors is developing sexuality fo teeagers who are adopted siblings might lead to an obsession and curiosity about sex and sexual relationships. 

Changes in hormones and physical appearance inside a child’s body lead to many confusing thoughts and feelings for teenagers and when you mix this with underdeveloped moral and psychological development in teenagers, it is possible that it can lead to sexual interactions when the adopted children are left unsupervised.

Conclusion

In this blog we have answered the question “Can you marry your adopted sibling?”

We have also discussed whether it is illegal to marry your adopted sibling, if there are any laws against adopted sibling marriages. 

FAQ related to Can you marry your adopted sibling

Can a man marry his adopted daughter?

In most countries, adoptive parents are not permitted by law to marry their adopted children. However there might be some exceptions to this as there have been instances where adoptive parents and adult adoptive children were permitted to marry. 

Is incest a crime?

In most countries and societies, incest is a criminal offense even if the two individuals are consenting adults. 

Can adopted siblings date each other?

It is possible and legal for adopted siblings to date each other however they might face criticism and ostracisation since it is considered borderline incest by most cultures. 

References

Learn Whether or Not Adopted Siblings Can Get Married. LiveAbout.  Retrieved on 14th March 2022. https://www.liveabout.com/can-adopted-siblings-marry-2303192

Can an Adopted Child Marry a Sibling? Catholic. Retrieved on 14th March 2022. https://www.catholic.com/qa/can-an-adopted-child-marry-a-sibling

Question: Is It Legal To Marry Adopted Sister? Giranelli. Retrieved on 14th March 2022. https://giranelli.com/qa/question-is-it-legal-to-marry-adopted-sister.html#:~:text=ANSWER%3A%20The%20adopted%20siblings%20described,prohibited%20from%20marrying%20each%20other..

Is it Illegal for Step-Siblings to Marry? Find a Family Law Attorney. Retrieved on 14th March 2022.http://www.findafamilyattorney.com/Featured-News/2016/Is-it-Illegal-for-Step-Siblings-to-Marry-.aspx

Deal.R. What Do We Do Now? When Stepsiblings Have Sex. Smart Stepfamilies. Retrieved on 14th March 2022. https://www.smartstepfamilies.com/smart-help/learn/parenting-stepparenting/what-do-we-do-now-when-stepsiblings-have-sex

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