Friday, March 02, 2007
Incestuous Love

Patrick and Susan are fighting to change the law

Should incestuous relationships be illegal?
or View Results

Patrick is looking at me, clenching his fist, his body shaking, he’s saying nothing. Susan isn’t saying anything either and neither am I. Silence can be so agonizing and there’s so much tension in the air you could almost cut it with a knife. There we are just staring at each other.

It was a difficult interview for a story that couldn’t be more controversial.

Patrick and Susan are a couple and have four children. They are also brother and sister and that makes their relationship illegal under German law. Patrick and Susan didn’t even know of each other’s existence until Patrick was over 20 years old and Susan was in her teens. After their mother died, they lived together and eventually fell in love.

“We just want to lead a normal life,” Patrick tells me, when he finally does manage to speak during the interview. He and Susan appear to be afraid of the camera. I can’t blame them. We’ve come into their home, are shining powerful lights in their faces and asking them to put their whole lives out in the open for us. Lives that have been as tough as anyone could imagine.

“People harass us all the time and call us the incest couple. They have no idea who we really are or how it all happened,” Patrick says, and then he goes on to speak about the legal ordeal he’s been put through. He’s been to jail because of the relationship with his sister; and three of their four children have been taken away from them by German Youth Welfare Services. Now Patrick wants to take the struggle to get the relationship legalized to the highest German court.

Many other European countries lifted bans on incestuous love long ago, and there are interesting arguments on both sides of the equation. Those who feel the ban should be kept in place say incestuous relationships are far more likely to bring forth children with birth defects than relationships between people that are not siblings. But opponents of the ban say it is a violation of couple’s rights to sexual freedom.

Patrick and Susan don’t care about all the politics, they say.

“We really love each other a lot, and we never want to be without each other again. We’re living like a small happy family,” Patrick says. To them, in the end, that’s what it comes down to: He needs her, and she needs him…nothing more.

If Germany’s highest court decides not to take the case, Patrick will go to jail again.

Click here to watch my report

From Frederik Pleitgen, CNN Berlin

Amazing! Something new, not the usual love story.
New but not medically safe. Are they aware of the possible genetic problems for their four children?
Amazing??? More like sickening! Incest is WRONG!
I have several questions about this. One is have they done a DNA test. It'd be so interesting if they weren't even related. I do feel strongly that their children should be raised by them especially since they are the biological parents. I also recall in a Genetic's class regarding new methods that scientist can use to determine the likelihood of defects. It's called Genetic mapping. Also, with ultrascans etc. However, they should do this before hand. Very interesting story. Personally my brothers disgust me and besides I am a lesbian. So I relate in how their relationship is viewed as not being accepted in the eyes of others. Also, I think if I were in their perdicament I would go to trial try to come to a compromise/agreement, get back my kids and move to a more liberal country were no one knew about us being related.
What good does it serve to send this man to jail or take away the couple's children? The children already exist, so let them grow up with their family. Obviously, this is a sad, complex story.

Yes, the biggest worry in having children is the potential for passing along recessive genetic traits. The government should leave them alone. At this point, it's none of the government's business.
"didn't even know of each other's existence until Patrick was over 20 years old and Susan was in her teens."
Does this mean they did not know they were siblings when they fell in love?
If so, you can hardly call them guilty.
If they did, it is short-sighted and egoistic from them not to think about the genetic burden they are saddling their children with.
Love between brother and sister is only natural. However, it will be taken to such heights is not normal.
There must be a good reason why our forefathers discouraged it.
Besides, are we trying to compete with the animals? They do this kind of thing. Sorry for comparison but this is a fact.
When I was in my teens, I had sex with my very own brother. It haunted me until now. But i didnt fell in love with him. One time when I had a fight with him, our little secret was divulged and the whole family knew it. Its not easy being judged put to fire because of this. Aggravating the situation, I am a gay. As Ive talked with my other gay friends, some do have the same experience but are just so silent about it. Believe me, its not easy. I cant judge the couple, nor one of us. Sometimes things are not planned, and it just goes the way it is
It would be incest if one was molesting the other but this crazy world is a sad place . 2 people that genuinely cares for one another would not be left alone. Anyone thought of how Abel or Cain continued had babies. Yet we openly support some gay folks and would not even say anything about that so we can be politically correct. I agree with he defect thing but the main reason behind this is more bcos of what we think is socially right and wrong. Shame on us all!
If our banks are willing to give credit to illegal aliens then I feel the government should leave people's personal preferences alone. Others take risks with drugs, etc. while pregnant and have defects with their children. This certainly would not be the first brother and sister relationship - just isn't usually in the media. I wish their little happy family all the luck. The kids need their Dad. We don't need to fill our jails unnecessarily.
Love is love, and sometimes comes from the most unusual places - if these kids had defects, I think this would be in the story, so hopefully they do not - I agree with the commenter that said incest is wrong - and incest is one family member forcing themselves on another - this is just two people in love, and add family love to true love, and I bet they have a love we would all fight to have, and dream of having - let them be, good for them fighting this archaic view of love - if gay love is ok, and it is - so is family love (Not incest)
there doesnt seem to be any crime committed and i feel that the jail is reserved for those who committed a crime.

in this case if the crime is to love, even your own family members, as what the mormons do then the law ought to take into considerations the intricacies and details of the case and a verdict should not be derived dogmatically.

the universal law is to love and punishment should only be reserved for those who dont know how to "love", even themselves or their own bodies, and this is called inhuman!
I understand it if incest is illegal, for the reason mentioned in the article, that states that there's an increased risk for birth defects. However, this law should have exceptions to my opinion, and not knowing you are siblings for such a long time should be one of them.
This law should exist to prevent many siblings from having children, thus degenerating human genes, but I don't see why exceptions wouldn't be possible. I also think this should be restricted to 'having children' only.
Gord, Canada wrote: "if these kids had defects, I think this would be in the story, so hopefully they do not"

Two of the children are "severely disabled" according to the news here in Germany, but the nature and cause of the disabilities has not been specified.
I feel the danger to offspring is the only reason to forbid such relationships. If I'm not mistaken in several states in the USA it is legal for cousins to marry, but only if one of them undergoes sterilization. I don't really see why this should be different.
let this 2 peaple live their life and look for more serius matter in the country thank you
There was a study published in summer 2002 in which scientist (a university, I believe) determined that the odds of genetic defect in children from first cousins was not that significantly greater than from couples from separate geneology. I believe the study was confined to first cousins and cannot remember if it extrapolated or studied siblings. Maybe you could forward this to the couple for help in their court case.

There is too much wrong in this world for people to focus on a brother-sister couple who appear to be raising a happy, loving family and home. I feel one generation of offspring from a sibling couple is not an issue. The issue would only be if sibling coupling continued for more than one generation within the same familly. Is there science to support this? Doubt it other than theoretical studies. The FDA would never release a drug for consumer use based on theory alone so it is wrong to place a ban on incest unless it is proven to be a problem in humans. Given the general aversion to incest I doubt anyone has done more then theoretical proofs on the genetic complications that MAY arise is incestuous couples bear children. Current medical ethics would prevent actual lab work on humans.

If science were to prove that incest is bad then I would be okay. My judgment is that the ban on incest has been a component of religious dogma for so long that it has built up a unpenetrable defense against any argument or evidence proposing that it is not as abhorant medically as we've been led to believe.

I would never condone it in my family but to each his own. The world is too secular for Judeo-Christian theory to be the foundation for governing how people want to live their lives, fall in love, and raise families. I'm a firm Catholic believer but enough is enough with religious dogmatism and shadow theocratic governing.

Harry Potter is not bad for children. Who cares if minister Haggard is a closet gay? Who cares if two siblings fall in love and want to raise a family. If people are happy that's all that matters. Why add to the world's misery (famine, floods, Mgabe, Iraq, Shia-Sunni death squads, unilateral cowbay war-mongerging) when it comes at the expense of one - ONE!! - family's happiness if there is no indication of abuse, poor parenting, or any other condition detrimental to the children's welfare.

I'm curious to see the response to my argument. My argumentative writing skill is not the greatest but I just had to say something.
An example of undisciplined, unchecked natural desires. This is wrong, not just because it may bring disabled children into the world, it's wrong because ultimately God says it is. Isn't that the reason we categorize some things as right and others as wrong. There is always an ultimate authority. For secular folks it is themselves and for others it is God.
What I think is important to know about the story and what is not covered in the report is that two of their four children are really handicapped. So what I am wondering about is why they got four children being fully aware of the risk. It's a great thing if they love each other and that's not what makes me think. But it seems that they denied the risk of their children being born with a handicap otherwise they would have taken precautions. And that's what I just can't understand.
Why was Patrick imprisoned and not Susan? Did she not commit the same "crime"? It's really bothersome how governments and judicial systems are openly discriminatory against men/fathers. I don't believe either of them should go to jail but for Patrick to face a second jail sentence over this and Susan no jail time is more abhorant to me than what he is being jailed for. I'd wager that she was not jailed because she is the mother. Why can't justice be sexually blind and view here as equally responsible and EQUALLY susceptible for jail time? It's distressing to know that I will be legally and judicially behind the 10-megaton 8-ball regarding my rights as a father when I start raising a family.
I like this story because it shows two sides of human nature very clearly. One side being our natural tendency toward love, and the other being the human tendency of pushing our opinions as if they are fact. In this case, the opinion that incest is wrong.
To say incest is wrong is to say an action born of love is wrong. My opinion is that it is not wrong. I wish them well.
How can this be? Even Mother Nature is uncompromisingly trying to tell Patrick that this is wrong but still he does not want to listen.If incestuous marrages are deemed constitutional the offspring of these relationships will end up being the responsibillity of generations to come."How can that responsibility be constitutional?"
So what's their story? How did the relationship come about?
Does God 's law mean anything to u. leviticus ch 20. Who fears u the most,God or mankind? God 's word says thou shall not.
I'm speechless.
This is a case where the society, albeit being biologically right about stopping people passing recessive genetic traits to future generations, should really leave these people alone.

If biology were the only valid argument in this, similarly people with any other genetic hereditary disorder, like Cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome etc. should be jailed for bearing children.

The story does not unambiguously reveal, whether they knew about their common ancestry or not, when they started their family. If they did, they indeed are irresponsible towards their own children, and further generations of their family. In my opinion, no-one should knowingly bear to term a child, who is known to suffer from genetic disease for the rest of his/her life. It is just not fair to the child.

That aside, here the cultural/religious aspect has been allowed to become the sole ruling factor in what should be a purely secular, legal matter.

After all, what some people refer to as "God" should have nothing to do with the law. Unfounded beliefs should not define legal "right" or "wrong".
Who am I judge what's normal?
That's the problem with the world today, people need to mind their own business and tend to what they need to before telling others how they need to live.
Incest prohibition is a basic moral absolute that, despite changing societal norms, cannot be dissolved. Incest is harmful on a social,moral,physical and spiritual level.
There are no laws that I'm aware of that prohibit ANY couple from reproducing based on genetic information.
We've shown multiple genetic links to birth defects and even when clearly shown to be recessive in BOTH parents, the law does not step in and say, "you cannot reproduce". Whether they should or not is a different discussion but to take this couple's children is simply wrong.
Sorry, this is not right, period! Why does it matter if they met just a few years ago? where does it stop? If a mother gives her child up for adoption does it make it okay to have a sexual relationship after meeting just because they were not together their whole lives? I don't feel pity for them. In addition, needing something like genetic mapping should tell them something.
such a ashamefull story, I think there should be a different between humans and animals. i dont think it is a love.
We as humans should not allow this. Just like the gentleman from Dubai said "are we trying to compete with animals?" If we allow this, then we are de-evolving to just that. There is a reason that incest is a crime, and has been since the beginning of civilization.
The couple have four children. If those children survive to breeding age, then the pairing can be considered an evolutionary success story. Underneath all the emotional/morality arguments attached to this issue, Life itself is smiling because it has continued for another generation. Nothing else matters.
This is wrong on all levels..morally, physically, pychologically etc... Some people mistake sickness for 'love'. I highly doubt someone in their teens who just lost their mother can make a rational decision about 'love'. They shouldnt be put in jail but be made to undergo therapy to find out what got them into this mess in the first place.
Give the jail cell to a real criminal and let those kids grow up with their real daddy who loves them - they've obviously been persecuted enough.
Make love not laws! The sexual and love relationships between adults must be a non-state matter. The german law goes against the individual freedom and should be changed. Best regards to patrick and Susan.
There was a recent story on a study that determined that the aversion to sibling incest that we have is triggered by watching your mother care for another child; I guess, that is how the primal brain determines who your brothers and sisters are. In this case, that aversion was never developed since they did not meet until adulthood. So as strange as it sounds, these feelings of love could have happened to anyone in the same situation.
They must know the medical consequences for their children ,but they are a normal couple, no matter if they are from the same family. Nowadays people get married and divorce for stupid resons, so let them live their love.
Possible birth defects and genetic problems aside, the government has no right or respobsibility to determine who someone can love or marry. As long as they are responsible for every they make, no one has a right to judge them for loving each other.
First off all you religious bigots, check out your old testament. God saw fit in the early stages to allow brother and sister marriage, almost prefered it. Did your god just all of a sudden realize it's bad genetics? You mean she/he didn't know this in the beginning? Why do so many people who should mind thier own business find it so easy to judge others. This I'll never know....
I find it heart-wrenching when he says "we never want to be without each other again" because it is simply misplaced feelings. These were 2 children who share a common bond, yet never grew up together. I see mom dying, family reuniting and that void being filled and the feelings they have being (within themselves) misunderstood. These people need intesive therapy; the saddest part is that they've brought children into this which is extremely unfair.
Why is it that the World's Elite are allowed to interbreed all over the place, and yet it's illegal for everyone else? No one questions them about it, suggests that it is sick for them to do it. Oh, maybe people are just don't know about it because they walk around ignorant of what is happening around them. Wake up people.
It is just sad and pathetic. People are pushing liberalism, individualism and personal freedoms to the limit. Let's put the secular/religous considerations aside. Every society has its moral codes that citizens must respect. And it is immoral for humans to have sex with their sibling, let alone have kids. Period. If that decadence goes unchecked, fathers and mothers will soon give birth to their sexual partners. This couple has just taken the easy way out. they stay in the same house, they don't need to invest resources or time... European societies are falling on their head. Nothing seems to matter and everything is allowed as long as you want to do it. what about pedophile and rapists? Some day down the line, it is sure poeple will be parading judicial courts to defend their RIGHT to sex with babies or with whoever they feel attracted to. it is just a shame!!
Life is so complicated when a few people with no clues dictate to people that just want to live happily. This is about 2 human beings falling in love and having children. We as humans want to judge other people. There is only one power capable of judgment. Everything happens in this world exactly as it is suppose to. Everything in this world happens exactly when it is suppose to happen. Before you cast judgment on other people make sure your own life doesn't have any problems. In other words, everyone should mind their own business.
In the wild, it's the strongest male that gets to breed, regardless of sibling status. So be happy that we aren't like animals, because most people probably wouldn't be here otherwise.
Of course they love each other their family, we naturally have a common bond with family members. Unfortunatly these two people were not raised in a traditional family setting allowing them to realize they loved each other as a sibling.
It would be interesting to know more about there childhood since they were raised separate and presumably not aware of each other until adulthood. It may not be unreasonable to assume that they were raised lacking some othere stabilities in their childhood and are finding a common bond that they feel only their sibling can truly understand.
I don't condone incest, but since this is the road they have already traveled down and children are involved they should be allowed to raise there children and not be condemned and belittled in front of their children.
Please Patrick and Susan do not have any more children, it is not in the best interest of your childrens health and can cause life long physical challenges. As parents we should do our best to create an environment that will lead to a healthy, happy life, much of your childs future depends on your actions. Keep the children you have safe and happy and don't have any more babies at risk.
"First off all you religious bigots, check out your old testament. God saw fit in the early stages to allow brother and sister marriage, almost prefered it. Did your god just all of a sudden realize it's bad genetics? You mean she/he didn't know this in the beginning? Why do so many people who should mind thier own business find it so easy to judge others. This I'll never know....
Posted By norma, san antonio, tx : 9:37 AM ET"

norma, you just showed that you are just a "non-religious bigot". you just judged people of faith... what a hypocrite
This supports evolutionary psychology...they didn't grow up together and thus were lacking the normal mechanism that causes siblings to feel disgust at the thought of sleeping together. Having met in their 20s and late teens and deciding to live togehter it's not surprising that heavier feelings developed.
I work in the genetics field and often deal with couples faced with the difficult decision of repeating pregnancies after having a child with a devastating recessive disease. These future pregnancies face a 25% chance of being effected, but it is not illegal for them to try. Often doctors can screen for the disease early in a pregnancy, though not always, leaving the couple with the decision to continue or abort, not great options obviously. These individuals are not locked up or sterilized. I don't think that incest is right, but don't feel that the couple in the interview is evil either...I wouldn't want to be them!
I can see both sides of the story. They never knew each other growing up, and I think that makes it difficult for them to think of each other as brother and sister. This just isn't a normal situation.
Frankly, I do agree that it is a poor decision to have children together. If one agreed to be sterilized, that would be fine. I think they should adopt children, however, rather than parent children that may have trouble later on in life. So many children need a good home full of love and happiness.
My opinion, long story short: Stop putting him in jail, what's done is done. Leave him be, give his children back and force one of them to be sterilized. Any more children should be adopted.
Anna Nicole Smith doesn't look so crazy now...does she?
I can't believe what i am reading. Brother and sister in love and have not one but four children!!! I almost vomitted my egg sandwich this morning. It is wrong on all level, no matter how you spin this. Two of their children are handicapped. You know now that they are wards of the government, because statistically that mother or father can't go to work. Those children will need care 24/7. So who ends up supporting them, the government and the tax payers. This is a very sad situation for everyone involved.
Just for a moment, imagine a couple that asked for Genetic Counseling and were advised they had very high odds of having defective children. But… “Love is in the air” and they marry anyway. Should he or she or both be held for a crime?
Who should write Human Laws? Human beings or God (What ever it is)? For those who believe in its existence, God is Love. So… (another song) “Let it be”
I'm sure there is more to this story than published here...maybe we'll never know....but, in any case, does that mean my father is also my uncle and my mom is my aunt? hmmm....if they wish to be together/married, then they should be sterilized so they cannot have children of their own, due to genetic issues, but they should be able to adopt....and stop bringing God into everything....that's their problem, not yours...i always hated people preaching at me....whatever i do is between me and God, not you, so mind your business
According to the Bible and creationism, Adam and Eve were the first humans. How do you think the rest of us got here? Cain and Abel and their sisters begat children and so forth. God does not say it is wrong, human courts do. I hate when religious fanatics are hypocritical.
this type of situation is somewhat common in siblings who do not meet until they are adults. i feel for them. this must have been a very difficult choice for them, but no one can help whom they love.

i think it is fine if they want to be together, but children are something that should not be produced from this union. adopt or don't have any.
as long as they can provide a healthy life for their children and themselves,i think they have good intentions in life
In general, I believe that a romantic relationship between siblings should be strongly discouraged. As with women who enter into polygamous marriages at a young age, there is the possiblity of coercion into thinking this was a choice; a sort of Stockholm Syndrome.

However, this couple met as adults and it is in no one's interest to remove a loving father from the family.
Your all stupid if you think that this does not happen in your nieghborhood. How many brother/sister families are really out there? Sit on that one...
I don't think that's a good idea. Thinks about their children saying: Is this my mother or my aunt ?
Humanity's gene pool is weak enough from all our chemicals without incest being thrown into it. It is wrong, and is bad for the human race.
My feelings are that an adult has the right to love whoever they want, and if that is their sibling so be it. I personally don't *agree* with it but it is not my choice to make.

However, them having children is something I don't agree with. They had to have known the risks but chose to ignore them. When it affects someone else's life, like it will these kids, is when I have a problem with it.
Although every adult individual has a right to sexual freedom but having incestuous relationships is an abuse of that freedom. Such relationship should not legalised.
The idea of birth defects being the reason that this is not allowed is, I feel, a useless and point. We (humans) are all 99.98% genetically identical, so to some sense we are all commiting incest. Also, what would be the issue where two sisters(or brothers for that matter) wanted to get married? There would be not children to create birth defects. There is a slippery slope here, however. I think that incestuous relationships are outlawed because of the opportunity for abuse. Sex is a powerful thing and if these realationships are allowed then there exists who knows where it could lead. Are we to limit this to only bothers and sisters or are we to allow mothers and sons and fathers and daughters (or mothers and daughters, etc) to marry. It is easier to outlaw it altogether and keep the issue black and white rather than adding shades of gray.
This is another example of the moral relativism plaguing the west. Everything is okay as long you don't hurt anyone. Moral standards should have no legal weight. Let everybody run naked in the streets. Who are they hurting, right? Oh wait, they are hurting someone, big time. Why should someone's right to "sexual freedom" be paramount to someone's right to be born healthy?
This is just one case that happened to come to light. There are others. Now for the next scenario:sperm banks. The same man can and does sell his sperm to banks multiple times as he moves about in his career. On the basis of his bio, his sperm is selected by various women. They have his children who grow up and unknowingly fall in love and marry their half brothers and sisters. Is this incest? What are the genetic implications for the offspring? Do we then mandate that all couples intending to marry first undergo DNA tests to ensure they're not related? What about step-brothers and sisters who lose touch because parents divorce and go different ways and the children subsequently marry? Would the marriages be incest? How about uncles and nieces? Or aunts and nephews? Fathers and long abandoned daughters? There are many situations beside this one case.
The most important part of the story is that the two siblings were not raised together. Studies show that it is being raised together is what creates the incest taboo. So these two people did not learn that built in taboo.
They should not be punished for what is not their fault. However, they should be discouraged from having further children as inbreeding creates disabilities.
He should be quiet and go to prison again! Freedom does not deny self-control. He should respect the laws of the republic. If society finds his love disgusting, why isn't he prepard to change?
Judeo-Christian morals have nothing to do with this story. There is a reason for these laws beyond religion. Keyword Genetic Diversity. Any one who has been around puppy-mill dogs or involved with livestock know this.The people who will bear the burden and expense will by the offspring with disabilities and reduced quality of life and the resourses of the population to help support the choices of their irresponsible parents. Secular or Religious natural laws apply evenly and do not make exceptions.
For all those screaming about what was in the beginning-God allowing sexual relations between siblings, it was later forbidden. Go read the law to Isreal in the scriptures. And by extension, Christans and most other religions adhere to the command. This is the reason laws such as this have been passed. "In God We Trust."
I thought Middles ages ended circa 1700 . was I wrong? Will they burn them too? SHAME!
This is Wrong, Wrong!!
I don't support this issue and I find it repugnent. You can say that this is a religious and/or ethical issue, but it comes down to Biology, gang. Anyone read about the history of the European aristocracy? Think about the "madness" that afflicted royals as the result of in-breeding. Family married within their ranks in order to keep the money within the royal family but look at the results. (King George, anybody?)

I support people's privacy however, so I say let them stay together. And while we're at it, let THEM and not the city, region or country be financially responsible for caring for their disabled children. If we follow the argument that this is a personal decision, then the city/govt./country shouldn't get involved nor provide financial support to the poor kids born with either physical or mental disabilities. If this is their choice, then they need to handle the consequences and be responsible for these kids.
I don't understand what goes through some people's heads.

The notion that "incest" only applies to situations where one or more of the participants is unwilling is erroneous. Forced sexual acts are rape and molestation. Incest is sexual behavior between individuals who are genetically closely related. Period.

It sounds to me that the couple found each other as siblings, and knew they were siblings when they fell in love. There is just something wrong with a person who knowingly engages in sexual behavior with a brother or sister. This taboo predates written law, and there are good reasons for it.
Life gets stranger by the day..Still, who are we to judge if there love for each other is right or wrong??...If it is genuine..let them be!

However, knowing the risks they were taking, one wonders why genetic testing was not pursued. The stress of raising one severely handicapped kid is an ongoing life stress situation on any kind of a family unit, let alone raising two severely handicapped, as seems to be in this case..

Be interesting to see if there love for each other indeed survive there adversity....Love, puzzling and mysterious...
I think this is sick, disgusting and totally wrong on so many levels, for all the reasons others who've voiced their objections to this have already stated. Nobody will EVER be able to convince me that the fact that these two are "consenting adults" and therefore we need to mind our own business or we shouldn't judge can justify an arrangement like this. This is now brought out in the public and that MADE it everyone's business and put it out there for everyone's judgment. I only see such excuses as proof modern society has truly flushed itself down the toilet.
1 - Where's the father of these two??
2 - Why did only Patrick serve jail time? Didn't they both commit a "crime"?
3 - Leave them alone and give them back their children...there are too many other, more serious things on the worlds plate than this. The children need to be with their parents, PERIOD.
The genetic argument is invalid because we do not arrest or sterilize individuals who carry recessive disease traits and still marry/breed.

The societal protection argument is invalid because of the above statment.

The religious standpoint is invalid because it presumes to enforce religious beliefs on others who do not share those beliefs.

The societal argument doesn't stand up because we do not imprison individuals who drink/use drugs/or otherwise endanger their pregnancies.

Again, the societal protection argument is also invalid because of the above statment.

If they had not had children, would he be in court? Would this be newsworthy if they had not had children?
Oh gosh! what's this world coming to? Incestutous love has and will always be against human nature, morals, and the foundations of human beings. I have just one question to the couple: let's suppose that there is no wrong with what you are doing, how will you convince your children when grown ups of your deed.
Incest is not a natural God given instinct for Human Beings!!!! It is a man's / woman's willed learned behavior. It can be UNLEARNED. The bibles teaches SELF DISICPLINE but only if the person makes that decision to NOT feed into that temptation. This behavior is about spiritual bankrupcy
So, let them love eachother if they want to! But when it comes to purposely putting a child in harms way? That's not ok with me. The probability of severe disability when having children, for this type of relationship, is too great of a number to ignore and I believe that's why laws of this nature are in place.
When the only criteria for marriage is that there are two consenting adults and that they "love" each other, then legally incest cannot be challenged.

And of course, who is anyone to say that marriage has to be between "two" people? Gay marriage proponents are attempting to dispose of a marriage definition that has been built up, spread across the globe, and sustained for thousands of years. If sexual moral codes are truly relative, and not rooted in the Judeo-Christian mores, then no one can say what is right but the current whims of the dominant culture....and cultures change. Next polygamy? Of course.
Like many others commenting on this unique story, my gut instinct is to encourage such relationships to be made illegal on the basis of the possible genetic defects their children will incur, rather than simply because "incest is repulsive" as some maintain.

However, there are many couples comprised of non-related individuals whose combinations of genes also produce genetically defected children. If we are to suggest that it should be illegal for related individuals to mate because of potential defects, we would then have to require genetic testing for everyone who wishes to have children in order to completely rule out the possibility of birth defects. Would we then prosecute those people who failed to test their genetic makeups against those of their partners and, in turn, produced children with birth defects?

All of this is very frightening, as it implies two things. One, that children with birth defects aren't worth as much to society as those who are born healthy (i.e. their presence is a harm to society, which, as the German lawyer said, is the only way that one can be prosecuted for their actions--if they are harming society). Secondly, we are presenting a scenario where we actively seek by unnatural means to control our population--through testing which allows us to selectively perpetuate certain characteristics within our species.

So, while the mere fact that brother and sister can care for one another as blood relatives and soul mates is dumbfounding to many, we can't merely call to illegalize such actions without looking at the legal precedents which would be set for the rest of society.

It is tragic that these children must live with disabilities; however, they are no less valuable and, nonetheless, they are allowed the opportunity to live and be loved by caring parents. Certainly, they are not alone among children whose parents' genes were mismatched--regardless of whether or not the parents are related.
I think its odd that noone in the entire thread has yet asked "why is only patrick in jail?"
Nice story. Looking through the comments I am ashamed how closed minded some people are. People should read Mitchers' Hawaii or some Heinlein (Lazarus Long)
I'm wondering if they've ever seeked counseling. Pehaps their feelings of love are due to their being separated for so long and then the stress of losing their mother. Perhaps it has to do more with separation anxiety. Jail is not the place for this person. Perhaps they could make assure that they don't have any additional children, as I believe that birth defects are the main reason why incest is banned. Look at the issues the Amish are having, by marrying within their own circle. A large number of their children are born with birth defects due to a limited gene pool. Love is one thing, but you have to think of your children and their future and the future of other generations to come from your line.
Not passing judgement but I think that once they found out they were siblings they should have cut that part of their relationship. I do not agree with it after they found out they were siblings and you can control who you fall in love with. I have a sister and ther is no way on God's green earth that I would think of my sister that way. But I love a sister!
This is another example of the moronic decisions ignorant people make daily. Throw both of them in jail.
I'm just thankful that I'm not in that situation. I also pray that my son, or future grandchildren do not ever take part in such things.
Incest should not be so a strange idea to devotees of bible, since there were only two who populated word. Unless I'm getting the idea wrong, there must have been a massive incest in the beginning of the mankind, should you believe the bible.
Why does Patrick go to jail and not Susan?

This is an interesting and difficult case to follow. Eventually, the issue of incestuous relationships will arise in the United States. Watch for fireworks when our American "Puritan" viewpoints again conflict with our protected civil liberties.
Wrong love , wrong freedom. not much different from animals
Thousands of years ago, the Chinese recognised potential medical problems in inbreeding and sorted the problem by using clan surnames so that there would be less incidents of this happening. The victim of their actions, is their children's children.
What a curse! I am certain it happens in many country. Save the future children, make it illegal.
In this case, where they were unaware of each other I think this is OK. The genetic argument could be completely turned around as many “purebreds” are done using siblings, parent children and the like. In the modern world in utero testing allows one to screen for many issues before hand, but then this becomes more of a genetic testing / abortion debate. Jail time seems more destructive to the children then keeping the family unit intact. Another way to attack this is – it is not a gender equal law – why is that that only the male will go to jail?
My personal opinion is that this is beyond the relm of good taste. Incest is disgusting and it should be illegal. I feel for their children. Can you imagine what they will think when they find out? Are we cousins or siblings? My oh my them poor children. The adults in this situation have really crossed the line with this one regardless of how they met, when the realized they were related it should of ENDED IMMEDIATELY! The only one this couple will eventually have to answer to is GOD!
It's not about sexual freedom, it's about right and wrong. The Bible clearly teaches not to have this kind of relationship with a family member and that's good enough for me. Is this another "alternative lifestyle" we will be asked to accept?
Society's moral codes change. In the US, slavery was legal but, fornication and cohabitation were illegal. That seems backwards, doesn't it? A sexual crime is when one person exerts force or coersion on another. This case involves two ADULTS. Rape and pedophilia involve force or coersion so they are not the same as incest. If we say one needs to be sterilized, why wouldn't this hold true for non-relatives who have a high chance of having children with birth defects? How can someone say it is "unfair" to the children? Ask a person with disabilities if they would rather have not been born. Who are we to say that person shouldn't have life? And people of faith are not only people who associate with organized religious groups. And not all people of faith believe in the same god or God as the next person. For Christians, I don't remember Jesus saying, "You MUST come with me and believe what I believe or I will force you to by changing the law." Not even close. Laws are usually made to protect society from harm. How is this couple "harming" society or themselves? Non-relatives abuse, starve, beat, burn, run out on, neglect and harm their children, too. That is against the law. If the other children were removed because of abuse, that is a separate issue from how their parents are or are not related. If they were removed simply because the parents are siblings, then the state is causing harm by separating them from their parents. I'm not sure what people are afraid will happen if this family is left intact?
When 2 children grow up not knowing each other how are they just SUPPOSED to have a sibling love? Many siblings are adopted and do not share DNA but that sibling love IS natural. This is NOT the first couple I've heard this happen to.

Neither one of them is doing something against their own will. Birth defects are possible with ANY 2 persons regardless of DNA. I'm sure a big percentage of people can trace their history and find inbred relatives more than they'd figured in the last few generations even.

It is a personal moral that some can not begin to think they would have to face. BUT one should unlock their closets and layout all their skeletons for others to judge before they do the same.
It's ludicrous to punish these people because they obviously don't really feel like brother and sister. If, on the other hand, they had been born to different biological parents, had been raised together as brother and sister by the same adoptive parents, and then professed their love for one another, I would consider THAT incestuous.
This is the consequence of the same sex union "marriage." After this, why shouldn't a minor allowed to have relations with an adult. If society is built on feelings and not rules, this will be the result. We have not seen the end of "breaking of barriers." Next will be human to animals. DON'T BE SHOCKED! "FREE" SOCIETY, ASKED FOR THIS!
Why would only he go to jail? Isn't she a responsible party as well? Or does German law only penalize the male?
I believe that laws that limit individual freedom of association should be repealed. Incestuous sex between adults is such an association.

Birth defects happen at a more-or-less unpredictable rate throughout the population. Does the State have a compelling interest in forbidding women over 40 from having sex? Or shall the State require all fetuses tested for Downs Syndrome, or forbid couples who have had a Downs child from ever having another? The answers, obviously, are NO. Laws against incest are just relics of ancient superstitions.

There are a couple of interesting aspects to this case. First, the article notes that many other European countries have already decriminalized incest "long ago." The German High Court has a chance to align German law with other European countries, which is important for the EU.

The other aspect is that the male, Patrick, will have to go to jail for a second 2 year term if the high court doesn't overturn the law. It seems to me that there are two who participate in incestuous sex, so how come both brother and sister aren't facing prison time? If the law isn't overturned, it certainly is one that discriminates against men and should be challenged for that reason alone.
I cannot believe how many pro-incest comments are left on this board. Are you folks at CNN filtering?

We need some level as a society of right and wrong. Without absolutes who are we? The problem we face in the west is our decadence can lead to our destruction. Societies only work when a few morals and standards bind the inhabitants of a group to one another.

You know, this makes us look terrible to the rest of the world.

Anyone with a brain realizes that incest is wrong.
IF these kind of realtionships are identified and legalized, then there no more moral values being a human. There is no difference between animals and humans.
The logic of most of the moralistic bible-thumpers condemning this couple is that it's gross and therefore we should put them in jail. What century are we in, anyway?
They didn't know about each other until they were pratically adults, and they came together by the death of their mother.. So that to me, whether they are related or not STILL MAKES THEM STRANGERS. They grew up not knowing about each other, unlike most siblings. I wish them the best of luck. Keep fighting for your family, even though it shouldn't be seen as a problem.
I don't like to think that I am closed minded but I do believe this kind of relationship is wrong. Children learn from their parents and if they see that having this kind of relationship with a sibling or cousin is OK it won't be too many years before there will be mulitply generations of the same family in incestuous relationships. I think then that there could be very real problems genetically.
Although I personally cannot imagine having sex with my sister or even wanting to, it isn't the incest that bothers me. I just don't understand or forgive bringing four kids into the world when they know the huge risk of genetic abnormalities (two of the kids are apparently very handicapped). Wouldn't any sane person stop after the birth of the first disabled child? To me, that is the morally reprehensible conduct, not the incest itself. Why bring innocent kids into the mix?
Although the opinions in this case are interesting to read, they don't make much difference. The fact of the matter is, they broke a law. In that case, it is, as it should be, punishable in a court of law. Just because it already happened doesn't mean nothing should be done about it. If it starts here, where does it stop? Every criminal we feel bad for, or can relate to shouldn't go to jail?
"Patrick and Susan didn�t even know of each other�s existence until Patrick was over 20 years old and Susan was in her teens. After their mother died, they lived together and eventually fell in love."

This part of the story should be explained further. It is not exactly clear what occured and how they met.
It is so wrong for the government to prosecute these fine folks. There is nothing wrong with them. They love each other genuinely. Nothing wrong with that. The Court should rule in their favor and return their children immediately.

The only force involved was committed by the government. Release both of them, set them free.

My heart goes out to Patrick and Susan.
This couple should be allowed to live their lives in peace. If the kids are safe and happy, it is nobody's business. If there is truly a danger of the other kids coming into this world, then the courts ought to decide wether steralization of either one may be implemented.

This is nobody's business.
Since Patrick and Susan did not grow up together, it is understandable that they might fall in love, but after learning of their sibling status they should have ended it. How old are they? How did they meet and learn of their sibling relationship? Did anyone else catch Patrick's statement that after their first 2 children were taken from them, they wanted to have more to make up for what they had lost? Something is definitely wrong with that thinking. How do you explain to your children that their parents are actually brother/sister and how do the children learn to cope with the teasing, harassment etc from other people? No mention was made of the children's ages or what type of disabilities they have. If the parents are determined to stay together, then the cost of caring for their children should be their responsibility, no support from the government or state. They definitely should have more children. After all, the parents won't live forever and who will then be responsible for the children, especially if they require special care? I have a brother but would never consider that kind of relationship with him - I love him, but as a BROTHER.
First of all, please refrain from mentioning God, or the Bible, in your arguments.

A lot of people do not share the Judeo-Christian faith, for whatever reasons, and unless we are regressing back into the time of Inquisition, projecting your values upon other people is quite frankly idiotic, not to mention utterly disrespectful.

That said, in this particular case the deed is done. To throw a man that obviously loves his partner, and can provide family settings for their children, in a jail at this point is to show complete disregard of the well-being of all of them.

The only way I would personally agree on legalizing incestuous marriage would be by medical determination that the possiblity of birth defects in the resulting offspring is similar to the norm for the rest of the population. Otherwise, it is simply irresponsible in regard to the children themselves as well as the rest of the society.

However, to throw somebody in jail because of non-violent sexual relationship with an adult, -especially- given their circumstances, is just one of the signs how far the law systems are divergent from the concept of justice and fairness toward strict adherence to the self-produced legal code.

The law is created for the benefit of people, not against them. The arguments presented against this pair are laughable, at best.
Are we going to dissolve all societal structure just so we can let everyone do "whatever makes them happy?" Chaos does not a happy society make. Some societal structure needs to remain in place; Incest being wrong is one of them.
Whatever God has forbidden in the Holy Scriptures, has a very strong reason behind it even if we are not aware of it yet, this applies to homosexuality as well. These young people need the help of the government and of the society: Medical counseling, Social workers, psychological counseling, pastoral counseling etc. to help them get to normal life and have the opportunity to enjoy having normal kids. The incest increases dramatically the chance recessive diseases, and the incestuous parents will suffer from it, consequently the society and future generations. The list of recessive diseases is very long that it is difficult to escape. Here are some recessive diseases:
Cystic fibrosis,
Sickle cell anemia,
Tay-Sachs disease,
Spinal muscular atrophy,
Chronic granulomatous disease,
Bloom's Syndrome,
Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency (leading to COPD),
Hemochromatosis types 1-3,
Wilson's disease and most types of Mucopolysaccharidosis and of Glycogen storage diseases etc.
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
Dubin-Johnson syndrome
Fanconi anemia
Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency
Rotor syndrome
Familial Mediterranean fever
Pendred syndrome
Certain forms of Spinal muscular atrophy
Xeroderma pigmentosum
Friedreich's ataxia
Fanconi anemia

By the Honorable,
You know the funnies thing about not passing judgment is that those who claim it are doing exactly that: passing judgment.

Judgment is basically of two types: Guilty; not guilty.

If we declare "not guilty," then it *is* a judgment.

By the way, I am personally not just surprised, but disturbed at the pro-incest nature of responses here. Is it that this story has only attracted the pro-incest audience (largely) and turned off the no-incest ones to the extent that they aren't even commenting here?

It is worrisome how suggestive the stories in media have become and how our minds are totally surrendering to any new ideas out there.

Very disturbing, indeed. More disturbing than the original story.
Like many others commenting on this unique story, my gut instinct is to encourage such relationships to be made illegal on the basis of the possible genetic defects their children will incur, rather than simply because "incest is repulsive" as some maintain.

However, there are many couples comprised of non-related individuals whose combinations of genes also produce genetically defected children. If we are to suggest that it should be illegal for related individuals to mate because of potential defects, we would then have to require genetic testing for everyone who wishes to have children in order to completely rule out the possibility of birth defects. Would we then prosecute those people who failed to test their genetic make-ups against those of their partners and, in turn, produced children with birth defects?

All of this is very frightening, as it implies two things. One, that children with birth defects aren't worth as much to society as those who are born healthy (i.e. their presence is a harm to society, which, as the German lawyer said, is the only way that one can be prosecuted for their actions--if they are harming society). Secondly, we are presenting a scenario where we actively seek by unnatural means to control our population--through testing which allows us to selectively perpetuate certain characteristics within our species.

So, while the mere fact that brother and sister can care for one another as blood relatives and soul mates is dumbfounding to many, we can't merely call to illegalize such actions without looking at the legal precedents which would be set for the rest of society.

It is tragic that these children must live with disabilities; however, they are no less valuable and, nonetheless, they are allowed the opportunity to live and be loved by caring parents. Certainly, they are not alone among children whose parents' genes were mismatched--regardless of whether or not the parents are related.
For those who say that having an incestuous relationship is "No Big Deal" and should be legalized, I'd like to know if they also think that such a relationship between a mother/son OR a father/daughter should be legalized too. If the answer is NO, why not? How is it different that the German "couple" in question? Hypocrisy, anyone?

Some things are just plain WRONG, and not everything has to have an explanation. And incest - regardless of whether it is between siblings or a parent/child - definitely falls under that category.
It amazes me how many people are saying this couple is wrong because "the Bible says so." Why should these people have to live by your religious views?? Yes, parenting a bunch of children probably wasn't the greatest decision, but these are two consenting adults. How can their consentual, adult relationship - one that isn't hurting anyone else - be considered a crime? I just don't get it. No one should be forced to live by a religious moral code that they don't believe in.
If they didn't meet, or know each other until Patrick was 20, how did they know they were dating a brother or a sister? Who told them they were related?
The moral problem with brother/sister relationships relate to the risk of producing deformed children. I would see legalization not a problem, provided that the couple would be effectively neutered, e.g. the man submit to a vasectomy
Although the relationship is incestuous in nature, these two should only be educated not to have children. If they were informed about the consequences of their offsprings having genetic disorder they would mostly like chose not to reproduce. However, if they are in love and want to be together, damn the laws!
This is the consequence of the same sex union "marriage."

What an absurd statement. A man and a woman who are siblings? At what point did 'same sex union' come into it? Are you just looking for a reason to spout a fresh bit of hate into the mix since it doesn't coincide with your viewpoints? Sounds to me a lot like those loons that protest a death in the conflict in the Middle East because of 'gays'.

Why would only he go to jail? Isn't she a responsible party as well? Or does German law only penalize the male?

Society in general penalizes the male, who surely is the one who forced himself on the woman, or surely ran off and abandoned the kids. Could it happen? Yes. Does it happen? I'm positive. Is it that females can't possibly also be in error or act wrongly? Entirely. Yet that's not what tends to happen. People blame the male and hold him accountable. Typical, sadly.

Society's moral codes change. In the US, slavery was legal but, fornication and cohabitation were illegal. That seems backwards, doesn't it?

Quite right. We've heard for long enough how 'wrong' things are from people determined to tell others what to think, how to behave, and that only their ideals should be adhered to.

I wonder if any of these same people that cry out that this is against what the bible teaches also think nothing of slavery, since the bible takes no stance on it.. or that people should still be stoned to death for any number of atrocities that are now considered so outdated that those points are conveniently ignored.

I find it unfortunate that any child should be raised with defects/handicaps/anomolies that are problematic, but forcing people to choose who it is that each loves, and to what expect they may or may not love that person, is not the business of any government.

For those calling for these two to be put into jail, are you then condemning their children to lives that are lived the absence of BOTH parents AS WELL AS the defects that they must learn to accept? What should come of them? Are they products of sickness and sin and should be put down? Should they be raised and told that they're healthy children that are just 'different' or is it that they got what they deserved in the eyes of 'God'? Are other children born with defects less deserving of what they have to cope with? Were their parents just as 'wrong', and you just haven't sorted out what they did to deserve this?

Privacy? Personal Freedom? Liberty? Inalienable Rights? Doesn't sound like it to me, by the way some people here post.

Your stupid ... (really, there is no need to even keep reading after a start like that.)
There are more impotant things for the world to worry about then this... let them live there lives even if we agree or disagree with it.
Their relationship should be legal, but wether having children was such a goood idea..I don't think so. But since these children are allready alive they should be able to enjoy the love of both their parents!
Once again the media has handed us a titilating soundbite to rile everyone's emotions. The answers to so many questions that critically thinking sound-minded individuals out there would want to ask are missing. Did they know when they met that they were brother and sister? Did they find out before deciding to have children? Are the children healthy? (I know a commenter referred to two of the children have some kind of defect, but it's not in the article). If indeed there are two children with defects are these defects a direct result of the close genetic relationship of these parents. The questions go on and on and on. I suggest that before anyone profers their opinion on this couple's life, they first demand to know all of the facts. Things are not so black and white. And that's MY opinion!
Is it not odd, that incest of animals is normal practise, yet objectionable
for humans? Are we so much different than all other mammals?
Sexual Freedom is fine. Children don't ask to be born, however, so why punish them with a virtual guarnatee of debilitating birth defects. Plus, who's going to have to pay for their medical expenses? The public - so shouldn't have a say in the matter? Go adopt kids if you want a family!
Initially I was against incestuous love. I still am, if the children were raised together in one household. But in the case where a couple didn't even know that they were related..I believe it is too late once they are in love. This is one reason that people should be able to have access to a public DNA pool to check before they make long term commitments. Just like pre marriage blood tests. I also believe that the inbreeding problem is serious as well. Maybe if couples adopted children instead of having their own,some of the problems would be eliminated. However, if a couple didn't know they were brother and sister, and found out after they were already committed...I don't believe they should be penalized for it. It is our system that is at fault..for them not being able to know. The religious issue, I feel is separate from the secular legal one.
Morality is completely subjective. Basing God as your arguement that this relationship is wrong is moot, because not everyone shares the belief that "God" exsists, or that "God" is the christian portrayal of god.

There are so many families out there that are "normal" in the eyes of society that are extremely dysfunctional and unhealty. Why dont we focus on helping these families acheive a peaceful, happy exsistence rather then focus on an "incestious" but otherwise healty, functional family?
For those standing on the religious soapbox of incest being immoral...consider the Old Testament and the generations of Adam from which mankind is supposed to have descended. By that text, Adam and Eve were the parents of all those who followed, which would mean the only possible way future generations could have come about would have been via the incestuous relations of Adam and Eve's offspring. Sort of puts a big crack in your logic that God forbids incest among siblings.

For those of you saying that to advocate incest is to rank us equal with the animals, as they participate in incestuous relations� I think that is an insult to the animals. After all, animals do not seek to kill, torture, maim and rape for the sheer thrill and pleasure of it. Animals do not impose by force upon one another, egotistical ideals of superiority. Most (pack) animals have developed a well-ordered society, where a hierarchy is established and kept. Animals do not move into other animals� territory and demand to take over, inflicting ongoing pain and suffering, offering their weakest members up for �cannon fodder�, simply because they believe their ideals are superior, and lest we forget� most often this is done in the name of the very God you are all saying frowns upon incest. Do you really supposed God frowns more heavily upon incest than he does upon the senseless brutal assassination of scores of people? Yes, I believe to rank us as animals based on incestuous behavior is a definite disservice to the animal kingdom.

Several mentioned the atrocity of birthing children who may have birth defects. Someone else mentioned those women yearning for children at the ripe age of 40+. Haven�t we recently heard of new mothers at the tender age of 60+? Where was the �outrage� that these women are highly likely to have children with birth defects? Why not remove their children from them? Perhaps the answer is to genetically map ALL potential parents before they decide to procreate� make sure no one is likely to birth a deficient child�after all, there is a definitive chance that non-related parents will create a defective child. Oh wait... that smacks of creating a superior race, now doesn�t it. Slippery slope backwards isn�t it�? The fact remains that using �potential� birth defects as a reason to create/uphold a law is both ludicrous and beyond ignorant.

The reality comes down to the fact that these two young people were strangers the majority of their lives. They met and developed a relationship. They parented children out of love�. which is more admirable than the reason many people are procreating. They simply want to get on with their lives and their family. Societal norms have changed and changed in a circular motion. While I agree pedophilia is an atrocity, it was long the standard for a Greek man to have a young male lover. We seem to know better now as a society. Slaves and women alike were considered chattel , property to be used and destroyed, less sentient than animals. We now know better as a society� tho many countries are still lacking in that enlightenment. Who is anyone of us to say whether the archaic concepts regarding adult incest, founded on baseless theory, is right or wrong?

The government needs to deal with being less invasive into the private minutia of people lives, and let this family get on with theirs.
What an awful situation... this is not what most people think of when they hear "incest." I do agree with the people who suggested it that they really should have adopted if they wanted children... but given the circumstances, I think that incest should continue to be illegal, but this family should not be prosecuted.
If sex between consenting adults of the same sex is acceptable and not illegal then why should sex between consenting adult siblings be against the law, or consenting adults and animals? Where or why would you draw the line with brother and sister? Who has the authority to make this judgement? Of course I am not serious. Nature intended sex between a man and a woman, period.
When I told my friend about this story, this is what she said:

"It's kinda weird that he can go to jail for it. What, they're worried he's gonna go find more of his sisters to marry?"

She's right. Regardless of your morals or beliefs, this should not be a crime. If you are against it, then you yourself should not partake in it. This is the most incredulous example of outrageous government intrusion, and I'm not even a libertarian.

He should not be in jail for this.
So when these children are grown and adults or older teens I can only assume their parents will allow them to have sex with each other.
I almost understand since they did not even know each other, but that is not the point here.
What are these bizzare comments about comparing us to animals?? We are animals. Animals eat and breath too, should we stop this?

I find it interesting how those, especially the bible thumpers, are so capable of only seeing what they want to see in order to have it fit into what they think is right. Note that what they think is right almost always seemd to be judging others different than them.

Who cares what these people do if it harms nobody else? What I find sad is that they just want to keep popping out new children without much regard to birth defects instead of fighting to get the ones back that have been taken.

As for being brother and sister ... that is there business.
Most incest laws are on the books not because of the risk of any genetic disease but becuase of social stigma. What about people who aren't related but carry reccesive genes? Should two stranges who are unluckly enough to carry a gene for some disorder be barred from marrying? Where do you draw the line?
To put it simply, incest is a huge taboo right up there with pedophilia. There are strong moral and medical reasons why humans should never partake in such behavior and for the first person interviewed in this video piece to say that incest does no social harm is the height of ignorance. Incest in any form can not be condoned, period. Whoever advocates otherwise is an embarrassment to the human race.
They have done what they have done,and no-one can take that away from them.

But what use is taking thier children away?
I don't agree with the relationship, but who has the right to dictate when it's already this far out of control.
Who cares? If their kids are healthy and they love each other...who cares?
This is disgusting! You don't fall in love with your brother or sister!! There is something seriously wrong with these people's values.
Having now read all the comments..I will just briefly add to mine that I already posted. Legal matters are legal matters. Religious matters are religious. And some folks have used the Holy Bible as a basis for their disgust around this issue. Unfortunately the Holy Scriptures started this whole thing. Check back on the history of Sodom..and no, I am not talking about homosexuality..which wasn't the sin of Sodom anyway...but when Lot escaped...with his two daughters...the two daughters got their father drunk and had sex and gave birth to the beginning of two tribes. Incest, rape and sodomy are rampant in the Bible...especially the Old let us look at this story of two young people in love with not so jaundiced an eye. The damage is them, help their children and yes, no more natural births is too risky and our society is not geared towards looking after disabled folks...not really...just look at the number of non wheel chair accessible homes, buildings, churches, synagogues, Mosques etc etc. It is not that disabled folks are worth is that WE don't look after them well at all. Anyone checked out our Old Age homes lately? Thank you
Although it is unacceptable, and I myself would not do it, I do not think it should be illegal. These 2 has not cause any harm to society. Incest is wrong, but why does the govt. get to have a say in it?
I wanted to add to my previous comments. As I said before rape of a child should be a crime but the sincere love between two people is none of our business. The comments of so many criticizing the couple for having children disturbs me. I have a disabled sister that doctors say was genetically caused by both my mother and father. My sister had three disabled children because she and her husband also carried the gene. For anyone to criticize my mother (who was unaware of genetics)or my sister (who was aware of gentics) for bringing these children into the world is wrong. While I am not religous, even the bible tells of many incestuous relationship encouraged by God himself. I value all human life including that of a disabled child. I cannot imagine my life without my sister or my or my sister's children. Was it difficult for the family? Yes. But what they have given me cannot be ignored. My life is better because of them, not inspite of them. It could have been me born with a disability. Are you saying that because I "could" have been born disabled it would have been better for society if my parents had been steralized? Some parents chose not to have children, this is their right. Some parents choose to have children, this is their right. To tell someone that because you "think" they might have a child with a defect they cannot have children is wrong. Where in the bible does it say destroy the imperfect,or, eliminate the weak, or only the strong should survive? As I said before, leave them alone.
When so much is going wrong around us on this planet, these two have found something so difficult to find--love, and happiness. Leave them be.
"For those who say that having an incestuous relationship is "No Big Deal" and should be legalized, I'd like to know if they also think that such a relationship between a mother/son OR a father/daughter should be legalized too. If the answer is NO, why not? How is it different that the German "couple" in question? Hypocrisy, anyone?"

EXACTLY! What is it going to take for us to say that a relationship like this is wrong? Would we think it is right if a mother met up with her son 30 years after she put him up for adoption and then married him? Humans have to set boundries and if they can't take it upon themselves to do it, that's when the law needs to become involved.
These people are weak and only feel comfortable with each other; should they be put in jail for it? No. So it should not be illegal for these people to love each other because that cannot be controlled anyway. However, it should be illegal for them to have children because then they are doing wrong since it is proven that it is biologically or genetically bad.
They can have the incetous relationship for all I care, even though I find it to be disturbing. However, the problem for me is that two of their children already have birth defects. No one is sure if it is the incest that caused it, but what about the taxpayers who have to pay for the medical care of these couples children? If they want to have an incestous relationship then they should be willing to pay for the medical expenses of their childrent on their own.
Posted By Gord, Canada : 7:00 AM ET

Did you even look at the video it stated that two of their children, the two oldest, were born with birth defects. They just don't know if it was caused due to the incest.

Also incest has been proven to cause defects in families, just look at some of the members of Europe's royal families who were born with genetic defects due to too much intermarriage among relatives.
As long as individuals do not harm society they should choose to live the way they want to. No government or any other entity should decide how you want to live your life. It is your life, nobody's else!! You may not agree with what choices people make, but if they did not hurt anyone, you got to allow it and to respect it. Again it's their life and nobody else. I believe it should only be illegal to bear childrens (they can adopt them though).
We allow it to couple of the same gender anyway. Yet, the law of the land is the law of the land and we cannot allow people to challenge it after they knowingly committ the crime. Germany should punish both of them according to the law, give them back their children and then leave them alone!! Maybe pursue those who harass them. Germany should then change the law to allow people to leave their life how they choose to. Only stpulation in case of incest is not to bear children or to be punished.
Live, and let live.

I get seriously concerned when I see laws designed to prevent children from being born with defects. This is eugenics, and applies more strongly to those who actually have a hereditary disorder than it does to sibling couples who are otherwise healthy. I have heart disease in my family. So does the love of my life. Does that mean we should be barred from having children as well?
They should be left alone.
Those of you that ask; "Who's going to end up paying? The public." Well, remember, these folks are in Germany - the public already pays the medical. The governemnt gives ALL families with kids a payment toward the costs of those kids.
Those of you that say God forbids it - get over it - and go fire your priest. He's probably had the same thoughts. Your God is not my God. And, apparently, not theirs either.
In today's society of fatherless children, we must expect to see this very thing happening in the United States within the next decade.

There are thousands of children growing up right now who may unwittingly have a relationship with a sibling.

When we have mothers who arent sure who fathered their children and fathers who have children with several women, none of whom know is bound to happen.

We must be prepared to face this eventuality here.
EWWWWWWW! gross & disgusting! Ok, so they didnt know eachother while they were growing up! Fine! They met when they were adults, WHATEVER! Once you find out you (and the one you're hot for) are BLOOD related, get over it and get out!
It is absolutely their right to live on their own. When they are happy, who are you to inturupt. better mind your business.
How totally, totally disgusting. Mum, or Dad, come to bed. DISGUSTING, AND IMORAL.
If the objection is the health of possible children should we stop middle age women from having sexual relationship in case they produce an unhealthy baby?
May the curse of God be on them and on countries that lift the ban on such a law(forbidding incest).
This is a matter that few people can really imagine being involved in. Whether its by their moral rectitude, religious conviction, or simple happenstance, most of us have reservations and even repulsion of sexual relations with a family member. But to find love that strong is a gift. Throughout the ages, mankind has sought out this kind of passion from another and made the most awful and sometimes despicable decisions as a result, because that's just how powerful it can be. It's like a drug that is more tempting than anything we could ever imagine unless we're deep into its fold. I don't blame these folks for wanting to be a part of each others lives in the most intimate ways if that is the depth of their conviction for the other. However, I do have personal issues with their decision to have children. Perhaps they didn't know the possibility of having babies with certain types of defects, and if they didn't then I can't see them as flagrant. However, if they did know at any point, I find it maddening that they put the burden on themselves, the children and society to care for these souls. Not that the products of their love may not contribrute to the benefit of society to some degree, but is that still not selfish. Yes love is often a selfish act, but the effect should be borne by those in love, not those around them. If they wanted to express their love, share their love with others, they may have very well chosen to adopt, foster care, mentoring programs - whatever social interest they could have dreamed up would have benefited from their passion and love and support of the other. I hope the children are well. I hope the parents continue to love and support each other. And I hope we all learn to tolerate that which we truly have no control over - love in all its forms.
Love is love, whether it be between a man and a woman, a man and another man, a woman and another woman, or several committed persons. European countries have acknowledged such relationships by affirming their validity and protecting the individuals' rights. Why should Patrick and Susan's case be any different? If they cannot be granted a civil marriage, at least let them be. Their life is their business, nor ours. They do not deserve to face incarceration when their great crime is only mutual love. They certainly do not deserve our righteous indignation which stems from ignorance and hate.
I recall some recent research into why most people are revulsed by incest - it comes from growing up in the same household and being around them daily. I can understand why Patrick and Susan felt an attraction to each other since they were not aware of each other until they were sexually aware young adults. Is incest wrong? I agree with some of the other writers, it was not forced and these two genuinely seem to care for each other so I say NO. What's happened has happened and I say let them get their children back and leave them alone. While there are biological, genetic and moral reasons for not encouraging it, I do not believe it is the government's place to intercede - Do we stop crack mothers from breeding? No, in most cases we would be accused of interfering with their basic constitutional rights.

Good luck Patrick and Susan - you need it!
Luke: People have a right to state their opinions without being called an idiot. it is not just Judean-Christan religion that frowns on this matter. People from all walks of life and religions do not agree with what is being done. One other person definitely got it right, they broke the law. For that alone something should be done. Some feel that they should not have to bear the burden in taxes for something they know is wrong. Perhaps you are the one who is trying to shove your beliefs on others. Our laws are supposed to be based on scripture. For as long as I remember, in court, people have sworn to "tell the truth, the whole truth, so help you God." It's a pity if that offends you.
What two consenting adults want to do is their own business. I originally felt as many others, that having children is a mistake in such circumstances, but on further thought, perhaps they should just be allowed to do what they want. Yes, children born of incest have a higher likelihood of health problems, but so do the children of hemophiliacs, people with Huntington's disease and muscular distrophy, diabetics, even children of obese parents are more likely to have health problems. So where do you draw the line?
Incest - Love, sex and relationship OK! But having kids knowing the genetic risk and proof thereof is NOT OK, its irresponsible!! If you make a choice to be in such a relationship, you should choose to not have children.
Love is not a matter that can be managed or controlled by the law, logic or rationality. The defective mental state affects the outcome of criminal proceedings and the application of punitive law. The course that love and affection take is directd by the mental state, and once love becomes the driving factor of a couples' lives, it cannot and should not be subject to legal control in so far as the mutual relationship is concerned. THis couploe have clearly formed a loviong relationship and committed to each other in all the same ways as other loving couples, so I say the couple should not have society make the determination on their behalf, as to who they may love and live with.

There are mountain loads of legal precedents supporting this couples position, and I genuinely hope the defence's legal represntation are astutue enough, to bring them into play. If they do, this couple will recover their legal rights,
I can't believe what I'm reading! Some of you feel that it's ok for brother and sister to do the dirty deed and bring children into what is already a screwed up world. I've heard it all! Next you will be defending a man's right to love his dog in a sexual way!!!! Not all love is good love people!
I think that this is beyond sick, we are pushing this world to the animal stage, there is a guy in Wisconsin USA who was having sex with his dead dog. Soon enough we will hear a story about a male dog and a female human, that is ok as well, so the new breed will be half dog and half human, that will be the new fad, but that is what freedom is all about. PLEASE GOD, HELP US, DO NOT LET THIS GO ON!!!!!!
I feel sad for the couple as there are clear disturbing circumstances emotionally like dying of mother and meeting after 20 years ..its almost unreal ...thats what needs to be understood about them...first.These people defintetly have been through disturbing times and anybody in such circumstances would look for help supprt .Probably they found help support in each other as they understood the situation best. I think they deserve therapy or treatment for such a trauma .....However I dont think Freedom in Civilized societies is about debating incest .Infact Freedom doesnt mean we dont wanna be civilised ....Freedom in civilized societies should have better definition than a mere understanding that you can do what you want .....
Europeans are more civilized than what they are now from 2000 years earlier like any other people in the world ....However debating wether Can we be like animals for SEX ...Certainly doesnt sounds Freedom to me....
Society as a whole needs to make some things taboo which ensures a progression of civilization.....What if we dont question such behaviour in normal circumstances in the name of freedom....I feel things coming next in the name of freedom will be slowly n slowly more disastrous to the social fabric of cultured civilization.
Imagine people will start having Sex on roads because its their buissness ...Gays and Lesbians , Metroexuals , Hetrosexuals all people doing it on streets and public ..Since its freedom of choice and partner...

As for their children i doubt the fact their siblings have problems because of genetics .However best wishes to both of them to understand their situation better and cope with it.
I wonder if they don't marry, then Patric won't need to go to the jail even they have kids?

I strongly disagree with their story. If this case is legalized,then future we would see more incestuous cases, I believe the world will be much confused!
It's wrong, wrong, wrong. Also, who is paying the BIG bucks to support the 2 severely disabled children?
Everything that is new is controversial.
Incest is wrong period. No amount of rationalizing will make it right. So let's see... according to many gay sex is OK, incest is OK, how long until they advocate rape and molestation as appropriate expressions of "love?"
Okay, let's assume this is none of our businness... what about a father or a mother with a child.. now you most likely say that's sick. but incest is incest! just because the mother could be as young as say 34 with an 18 year OLD CHILD WOULD THAT BE OKAY?... of course NOT. you can't be a daddy and a uncle. or a mother and grandmother... even if these kids are physically okay, I can't help but think emotionally they will be a wreck probably known as "those incest kids" a lot of unneeded baggage. sister and brother or mother and daddy whichever,hell I'm confused now should have at least not bred!!!!!
Why don't we legalize NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association)? Why don't we let out child molestors from our prisons too? After all, they were only professing their love for kids, not hurting them. Let's allow fathers to marry their daughters and mothers to marry their sons. Let love reign.

This is vile and disgusting and those who support incest should be ashamed of themselves.
Honestly i feel that considering how they grew up it shouldn't be a big deal. The fact is everyone deserves a piece of happiness in this shitty world of ours. Mind you i cant see myself doing what there doing but everyone deserves happiness. Thats my personal belief.
This is a new sham thing come up the world by new open freedom society . We have hearted man want to marry a man, married mother and finally marry a sister. This situation will move the human to be like animals (doges, pigs...etc). This will move the man to be the lowest rack of the creation in this world. I believe the situation is back to humanity level and obey the creator of this world law.
I don't believe we should be viewing this as a right/wrong issue based on Biblical references, as opposed to a more scientific and/or humanistic point of view.

According to the belief that we were all born from the union of Adam and Eve, we would all be children of incestuous origin and in our own unions with our significant others, also have committed incest. Also, with the acceptance of homosexuality that is arguably disallowed according to the bible, there should also perhaps be some - but perhaps, limited to only certain circumstances - acceptance of incestual relations.

Just because they know they are related does not give other people the right to ruin their family and their lives. Is this any different from the bad treatment of homosexuals in the past? Isn't that also inhumane?

Just because the law states that it is illegal doesn't mean we shouldn't have exceptions. People can get away with killing someone depending on circumstance, such as self defence. Homosexuals from states that don't allow gay marriage can still get married if they so wish to and love in harmony.

These two people just fell in love. Just like how a man and a woman, who may or may not be unrelated, fall in love. They chose to have children (who also seem to be in good health), don't infringe upon the rights of other people or hurt anyone, and they're not even committing a crime that puts anyone in danger - isn't this what the legal justice system is supposed to do? Protect the people of the nation from each other? What's the point in making the lives of otherwise peaceful people even more miserable?

I'm not saying that it should be allowed and we should all openly accept incest. However, we can make exceptions when it has already happened. Put the people who deserve it in jail to protect the people of the nation from their potential threat to society, not those who aren't of any danger to people.
Never done a "blog." But . . . When I saw "Quick Vote: Should incestuous relationships be illegal?" I wanted to vote. Because I am a liberal and believe people are responsible for their own choices and live with the consequences of their behavior throughout their life, my vote would have been a "No."

Thinking a little more though, I am a victim/survivor of incest (by my step-father when age 10-17) and I can tell anyone who cares to hear, that it was one of the most terrible and horrendous issues I have dealt with in my entire 50+ years of life. So�If incest were legal, I think there may be more acceptance from society that what I endured was not so bad; after all, a case could be made that it isn't illegal. Perhaps that's splitting hairs, but one does need to think that this law would have repercussions in many different areas, not just whether there are two consenting adults.

I do feel for this couple, but have to wonder how their own childhoods affected them. They seem to be very young to have four children, incest or not. And after just a little research on the subject of children born from incest, I wonder if this couple was capable of making a mature and intelligent decision about bringing these children into the world, especially if they were aware that 50% of children born from an incestuous relationship are severely disabled/brain damaged, etc. What I heard in the video report was that when social services took children away from the couple, their answer was to have another child. That seems illogical to me. However, unless they were actually neglectful, abusive parents, it is illogical to me why social services became involved and took their children in the first place.

Also illogical: Why is the father the one going to jail? There are so many good questions about this scenario, it boggles the brain.

Should this be posted, I would appreciate that you only use my first name.
There are different views to look at there case: first their situation as brother and sister with their children and second the question about their feelings and rights to do so.
On one hand, it is very easy to say, they do not harm society. If they would have not known the wrong of their doing and people arround them did not tell them, at least by their first two kids they could have got the idea and maybe even understanding, there is something going wrong. The two unnormal kids are not possible to cure by the change of any law. This biological structure God has given. People can not change this by their vote.
Second is not realy the question to legalise by law their or others wrong doing; behind this might have been many problems before of family and feelings. Actualy they needed different help by psychologist, and family and society long time ago and they need it now more as before; they will not be able to stop their relationship witout help from outside, if they would get the idea to do. Maybe they started together a wrong way what they have to continue untill the end of their lifes. But how with their children again; maybe again biological problems and problems of feelings attracted by brother and sister?
Why this brother and sister or CNN question the society, to legalise their wrong doing??
The question is much more, where society will end up to, continue to live as you like to live and do what ever you want to do. Wait a minute, I give you one simple example:
when I was driving too fast on wet Autobahn in Germany last weekend, police showed me "Follow me!" I will have to pay for this. Could't I ask to change the speedlimit to legalise my fast driving. And this would be good anyhow for all others behind me! By the way, I did not harm or hinder anyone, only police had to manage some accidents on same Sunday morning on same road. Only this was their reason that moment to catch me.
More the question should be, how our people want to live in future: will they do what they want to do as it was in the days of Noah (Bible says same will be again before the second coming of Jesus Christ) or will they confess their wrong doing and ask for forgiveness and guidence by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of life.
Please do not ask always to change the law, when people do wrong. Better ask the people to get a new mind and a new life through Jesus Christ, as John the baptist in the days of Jesus with his diciples did, asking the poeple to change their lifes totaly and start up again with a new view and relationship with peace in their hard, what only God is able to give and with a view up to eternaty.
Not always our law needs change, our mind and sometimes our feelings and by this our doing we have to change. In reality - the Holy Spirit will change our mind, but only, when we invite him in our hard. He likes us to guide to the good and right path.
"And there are few, who will walk there ..."
The believe in Jesus Christ can change lifes and this present is given by the Holy Spirit to everyone who wants to open her/his heard for God, discriped by the Bible, the so called GOOD NEWS.
Myself I belong to a christian denomination what is well known especially in US. I must not mention more about, only this much, we try do follow his word. Sometimes we think: shouldn't we adaped his word on our lifes? Of course not! Whoever starts to study the Bible will be guided by the Lord, that's all.. Will you take this callenge for your life? Only be careful, it can change your life "and prove, what you are reading.
God bless YOU.
The legal side, the law is the law. We look down on poligamist in Utah even if they love each other. These two know the law and chose to break it. The moral side, siblings should not breed. There is scientific evidence of defects. What they did was the most selfish thing a person can do to their kids. Reality should not be blinded by love.
Color me surprised! After all of the unspeakable sex acts I have witnessed in German pornography, apparently it only takes "love" before consensual sex is outlawed in Germany? I personally find the "love" he'll possibly endure in prison to be infinitely worse than any possible reasoning one could find to be repulsed by this union...
Sick!. I am about to throw up just reading about it. It's even more amazing that anyone even thinks this is OK. I hope these people are not doing their borthers or sisters too!
first off, id like to know more about this couple before making accusations and passing judgements. it said in the article that they didnt know they were related, which is quite possible. kids get given up for adoption and whatnot and hey guess what, the guy or girl sitting in the cube next to you or working down the hall from you could be your sibling and you would never know. its a shame their mother died and never got to tell them they were related (and no, im not trying to place blame on the mother).
im also going to comment on the comments here. i think its amazing how many people in the world have commented here and im glad to know the rest of the world isnt full of as many close-minded people as there are in the US.
I have a profoundly disabled child due to a premature birth as a result of hit-and-run driver. The fact that this couple has brought into this world disabled children; plural, does hurt a society as well as well as the poor child. This completely invalidates their argument that nobody is hurt. If one or both were sterilized then I could look away in sad digust but when the odds are so overwhelmingly strong that a birth will result in a compromised life, then that particular love is plainly selfish
Utterly repulsive. This is the kind of ammo that anti-gay crowds will use to determine that this is the next logical step...

It is VERY wrong.

End of story.
What if one of them was adopted? If not its probably a bad thing for their kids.
Love can happen everywhere and it can happen to everyone, no matter what. In this case, I feel like it's too much. But since they choose it happened that means they are happy to do it as long as it is the story of 2 people. Let them live their lives.
Seems to be an argument for the idea that the people we grow up with are identified as our kin, and therefore are off the menu for romance. If a sibling grows up away from us, we have no way psychologically of identifying them as a relative. Still and all, there are strong genetic reasons for not mating with one's relatives; and evolutionary natural selection has favored selecting one's mates from far away from one's home (the real reason children look forward to going off to college!).
Genesis 20: 11-12
11 Abraham replied, "I said to myself, 'There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.' 12 Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife.

Do not condem this young couple, it has been happening since men records time.
I wish to formally file a complaint against CNN on this blog, in reference to the fact that my comment, posted in the afternoon of March 2nd was not posted to the site, for reasons that I suspect are not co-incidental. A similarly themed response I sent to a CNNSI blog regarding the homophobic remarks of Tim Hardaway on John Amaechi's "coming out" also was not published, although there was admittedly much invective in that response.

I did receive responses saying that both of my comments were sent, so I'm assuming there were no technical difficulties in the receipt of my comments, so......

There appears to be no problem to allow for criticisms of the views of the "religious right." But there appears to be a double-standard when criticisms are made of the liberal view.

In my previous statement, I stated two things:

1) that we will eventually be no different than animals if this pursuit of freedom of choice comes at the expense of maintaining standards for what is and is not acceptable behaviour

2) that those people who are not against this behaviour are hypocrites, because if this was happening in their own families, then they would indeed have a problem with incest. So when someone stands behind the "freedom of choice, so long as no one gets hurt" mantra, what they really mean is so long as THEY THEMSELVES do not get hurt. This is the hypocrisy of societal liberalism.

If someone can honestly say that they would be okay with this happening in their own family, to their own kids for example, then one can say that they are walking their talk. (And I would say such a person is in need of serious psychotherapy.) Otherwise, these people are only hiding what their true feelings are (read: LYING); which cannot be said for those who do not find this behaviour acceptable, regardless of their reasons, religious or otherwise.

Furthermore, the idea that no one gets hurt in this scenario is patently false. The children of these sibling parents stood a high risk of having physical abnormalities at birth. This is not to mention the scorn and outright abuse these children will face from society as they grow up. Also, how will (have) the parents explain(ed) this to their children? Will the parents say to their own kids that they (the kids) are a mistake, or will they try to paint a picture that their behaviour was normal? How will the kids internalize this into their own personas as they grow up? Will they grow up to think that such behaviour is "normal?"

It is true that it is not the children's fault for being born to incestuous parents. We should feel sad for them and truly try to help them.

The parents on the other hand MADE A CHOICE to persist in and rationalize their feelings for each other, with no regard whatsoever as to the consequences or the morality of this behaviour. This irresponsibility (to say the least) clearly indicates that these people are not fit to be parents.

Take the kids away (yes, that will be painful too). I'm not sure if jail is the answer for the parents, but they are in need of some serious help.
Notice it said the young man was raised in Foster Care. In the US a child is placed in foster care because he or she cannot be properly cared for at home.

There is some information missing here. Nowhere do I see a mention of the father OR FATHERS. It is entirely possible they just have the mother in common and are actually half-brother and sister. He could be the result of a rape or teenage pregnancy.

Were these two an "average" couple giving birth to disabled children no one would be telling them to stop having kids.
Why not send them both to jail? Why just him? I know the first answer would be, "Someone needs to take care of the kids," but they have been taken away already.

I think the reaction to this case is a little insane, if these are all the facts. Why not at least be even handed about it?
This seems to be a case of bolting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

And that said, why is he being prosecuted twice for the same "crime" with the same "victim".
This is like something out of a bad soap opera.
Very interesting no one has comments on two points
a) the woman never speaks - she acts like a victim being consoled by her capture - what age did she meet him 13, 14, 15? and he was 20 at the time? - was that why they lived together was her guardian


b) he doesn't seem too concerned to have his other 3 children back - they are a happy small family now - but no comment on fighting to get their other disabled (but no one know why or cares to investigate) children back. He also doesn't state anything about genetic problems to have kids - is he aware there are any, that the social taboo comes from some where?

These four children are going to grow up knowing their parents are brother and sister, which could disable their abilities to reproduce, lead a productive life (ie physical/mental disability, etc. People who know their mom's drank or did drugs are none to pleased with their choices either
I'm not particularly religious nor am I close minded, but these pro-incest comments are mind boggling.

The main arguement for not having children with ones siblings is called genetic diversity. Can disability always be avoided? No. But if you diversify the gene pool you have a better chance of avoiding it and the offspring have a better chance of survival for generations to come.

"Are we really that different from animals?" You've got to be kidding me. Yes. While we have biological systems much like theirs and natural drives and desires, we have have something they don't. Reason. Logic. In otherwords, the capablitiy of higher thought. The arguement that we are no different than animals is ludicrous. To make that comparison is to undermine every single achievement mankind has made. From the wheel to the very computer you are using now to make such ridiculous statements. If you are so certain we are no different than animals, go down the street and ask the neighbor's dog how his work on nanotech is going. I'd love to know how he's doing.
Those of you who are disgusted at Patrick and Susan as a particular pair of individuals should be aware that there is a well-documented phenomenon known as Genetic Sexual Attraction. It is basically an extremely strong, almost overpowering attraction between close relatives who did not grow up together (and therefore did not develop the aversion normal among close relatives who were together during the developmental years). It is extremely common in adoptive situations and presumably has very deep and old psychosocial roots. So it is not at all fair to dismiss these two as some kind of perverts for experiencing it, or even necessarily for acting on it. (Depending on how isolated and psychologically compromised they were by their mother's death, acting on the attraction could have been a survival mechanism).

That said, what do we do now, as a society? Accept consenting incest between adults as okay? I don't think so, but I think there is a place for removing prison terms from the books, as we do for many harmful but non-violent offenses against society. In other words, it remains a crime and societally discouraged, but nor do we see these situations where essentially non-violent and otherwise law-abiding individuals are imprisoned.
These two are in love, and we should leave it at that. Stop interjecting hate and religious beliefs on why this is wrong. I 100% support this relationship. Be OPEN MINDED, the possibilities are endless.
At the time of writing this comment 64% of those who voted were against incest relationship. Does not that speak for itself. Why are we trying to out do each other.
Also, incest is just not brother and sister. It could be father and daughter, mother and son and so on. Those who are in favour or want to turn a blind eye to this case should consider all aspect of incest and the long term affect on the human race.
Its ok if incets have sex but I think they should avoid having kids because that creates problems for kids who suffer....leave the couple alone....they r innocent.
First, I am just so sick of "the Bible said so" or "God said so". If a Jewish or Christian person has a well founded argument against incest, I'm willing to listen, but blindly following what one mythology tells you is pathetic. Think for yourselves, people!

Second, I believe one of these two should be steralized. That's without a doubt. But as for the argument of children, two of these children were also born prematurely and may have had disabilities due to this instead of incest. We can't do anything about these children. They're alive and well. Why deny them a family?

Third, what many "moral" people refuse to understand is that a sexual act outside of their own religious views can still be normal. That includes homosexuality, yes, and even perhaps incest. The difference between these practices and necrophelia, pedophelia, and bestiality is that there are not two consenting adults in the relationship. It's simple to disgust others when you link incest to marrying a dog or your dead cousin, but the fact is that these aren't related in the slightest.

And, fourth: I am sick and tired of having Christianity forced down my throat. All of the comments here neglect to mention one thing: LOVE THY NEIGHBOOR. How about "Judge not lest ye be judged"? If one is to argue from the moral standing of Christianity, at least have the decency to respect said religion by adhering to it's basic moral tenants!

I am glad for this couple, not because it's incest, not because they had children or didn't, but because they were lucky enough to find someone to spend their lives with. The divorce rate is skyrocketing in our own country, so seeing a stable relationship from anywhere in the world is a sigh of relief. Allow people the happiness they deserve. You don't have to agree with something to respect it.
Because of higher probablity of birth defects, it is alright to prevent known close relatives from marrying. This case, the couple and neither did anyone else knew of their sibling relationships. Marraiges that have been legally approved by the courts should be allowed to remain legal. In this case, their marraige has been legally approved. Also commentaries should emphaisize that the fact that the couple did not know of their sibling relationship.
The question is not whether incest should be allowed bacause that also includes incestious rape. The question is rather whether concented incest should be permitted. There should be a way for these 2 people, who clearly love each other (I hope you recognise a love like this; you must be very happy) a way to sustain their life style. If there currently is no legal way, it should be created. I wish them all they need the strength to see through this ordeal.
This is not good for human future development. But it is difficult to deal with this case very well. We could give them the sympathy psychologically, but we prefer them to think over and over, then decide to leave each other.
Im surprised at the contoversy...The west has preached democracy and freedom and human rights and where others differ on the issue, they bomb them for it.Theres nothing wrong with Patrick and Susan fighting for what their nation stands for_FREEDOM!So be it gay marriages, incest or beastial necrophilia, in the true spirit of democracy it should be legalized. We cavemen in Asia and Africa will just stick to our 'backwrad' moral values.
"There must be a good reason why our forefathers discouraged it."
Habib Khan. Dubai. U.A.E.

- What our forefathers did was not necessarily right. Disagreeing with our forefathers and all the things they did was probably the best thing that ever happened in Germany...
E.g. Our forefathers sent homosexuals to concentration camps. And I'm pretty sure they didn't have a good reason.

In contrary to the UAE, Europe is supposed to be a place of strong personal freedom. Sorry I can't agree with you.

However, I think love between brother and sister is a very sensitive issue...maybe the lawmakers should come up with new ideas. We should at least restrict having children. A test before pregnancy on the mental and physical health of the child should be mandatory in my opinion.
Some of you raised the question why only Patrick has been arrested and not Susan. According to a report on the German Nightly News "Tagesthemen" yesterday, she has been also convicted but only with youth custody on probation. Susan is several years younger, so only Patrick has been sentenced under adult criminal law.

My opinion on the story: Susan and Patrick are two people who obviously love each other. Their love and their lifestyle doesn't harm society at all. So I'm confident that the German Federal Constitutional Court will lift the law later this year and both can live together with their children as a family. I strongly oppose the position that this is question of morality. It's a question of tolerance. What people do in private doesn't concern me, the state, the politicians, the church...

As I have the right to live may life as I want, this couple has the same right as well. No one needs to enthuse about the association of having a sexual relationship with his/her brother or sister (and to be very clear on that: I don't even want to imagine something like that for myself too...). But we should accept that there are people who are different. And it is their issue how they want to live - not ours.
I noticed that the greater percentage of pro-incest commenters are from the west; Europe is about one civil liberty/human right away from complete chaos
Norma you got it right

Come on people, a few quoted me, I don't care, but those who try to use God to condemn these people, are "Mis" using God.

I am a very religious person, but God did allow this, we all came from one source, thus we are all related, and to some degree we are all incestious

Obviously this has stirred a lot of conversation - why? People see the word incest, and want involvement - it is natural

These people did not hurt each other, and yes, i was wrong in my first post - 2 kids have defects, sad, and truly the laws in wisconson should probably be applied, that let the couples love and live - but multiply in a different way - through insemination, or adoption - to protect the future generations

but for family love to go beyond societel norms, it happens more often than some prudes are willing to accept.

Leave them be, and leave them out of jail
This is ridiculous!
Yes we are in the age of 'rights'
God has given us full freedom, but we also should know the difference between right and wrong.
How can a lawyer claim that incest does not present social problems--what about the handicapped children from most of such liasons? If this is not enough social problem, I wonder what else can be.

From same sex marriages to incestous love, Man is finally on the path to self destruction all in the name of sexual freedom...
Sick, just simply sick. If this is allowed, very soon Europe will not object to parents having sex with their children. How will tehy recognize or know relationships. Animals, that is what they will become.
It is as old as the Bible. What about the children of Adam and Eve. There were no other people so they must have had sexual relations with each other, Nanda
I feel that the government and all who cause you problems should leave you alone. You are obviously in love and that is what counts. God bless both of you and win this battle!
Jukka, where do you think law comes from? Have you read the 10 Commandments????
This is an issue that I never even considered existed. Of course this kind of relationship must be deemed illegal. There have to be boundaries in a civilized society. I believe that this type of attraction must be a mental and or emotional disorder. Even if you haven't seen or met a relative for an extended period of time and then suddenly you do meet them, there must be a part of your brain that switches off the attraction factor the milisecond you hear the word sibling, cousin, aunt, uncle, etc. This idea is repulsive on so many levels including morally, socially and religiously. Europeans need to embrace the church or some kind of religious teachings again. (2 to 3 percent of Catholics attend church - Is this the result?)
Any society that allows/endorses/legalises any of the following - same sex mariage/ordination of gay priests/abortion etc should not have any problem legalising incestuous mariage. Stopping it will be double standards.
How many of the 'pro incest' commentors would be supportive if their family members were involved in the same sort of situation?
There are reasons why incest is frowned upon and why some countries criminalize the act.
I don't feel for these two that are in 'love' but for the children who will have to live through the harassment the rest of their lives. The parents are selfish for bringing these children into the world. It is a shame that the German government and its taxpayers now have to look after kids that shouldn't have been born in the first place.
Jail for one...jail for both.
Just an opinion, as are the rest.
I thought that only existed in the back woods of Arkansas.
If everyone writing in understood the true pain and overwhelming physical draw of being separated from family for a lifetime they may have more compassion.

GSA (genetic sexual attraction) is real and documented by counsellors in the adoption/reunion field. It is a very powerful connection... as though you have found your soul mate.

With all the reunions happening now what we need is eduaction so people can be better equiped to handle the attraction feelings that often come. Understanding is needed... not judgement.

It is very hard to understand unless you have been there... and I have...
Of course they love each other, they are brother and sister...but how can you tell what *kind* of love it is? Is it the same love that strangers feel when they fall in love? Will they ever fall out of love? They will always love each other...forever...they will never fall out of love. The truth is, the love they feel for each other is stronger than they can handle.
Maybe, they are just together to make up for the time lost together. In 20 years, they will break up and go seperate ways...because he will look at her one day and realize, it's his sister.
I say leave them alone, they are prisoners of love.
I know its wrong, bcus I believe its wrong. But for your defense, kings and qeens for the longest time were all brothers and sisters. Did they produced any retarded kids? Right or wrong, I think its all about how you were brought up, religious or orther wise. But what is done is done, they can keep it in their family. Who knows maybe their kids will fall in love too and produce more retards! But I am not a judge, good luck to you Patric/Susan
So they are in love. They obviously are since they endure all the critisism and difficulties and don't break up. But think about a system that considers it to be better to take the children from their parents, who sound like good parents even if they may be incestious. Put the children in to foster care and throw the parents into jail rather than letting the children grow up with the love of their parents. I am not saying that foster parents can not be good parents but there are sadly very many cases where children loose their footing in live when taken away from their real parents and are taken care of by the system. Such resolutions may be the last resort when the parents are incapable of taking care of their children or, as happens, treat their children badly. In this case this does not seem to be so.
You know, let people do what they want. If it's not harming you, what should you care; it's none of anyone's business but their own. Chill out people.
Honestly, if they want to be together that's fine, their decision and all that. But no reproducing whatsoever! I can't believe they aren't alarmed by the fact that their children are deformed! I feel like I'm taking crazy pills here!
So now Patrick is dad-cum-uncle and she is mom-cum-antie, right? let's hurry up before the animals outdo us...
Jukka, where do you think law comes from? Have you read the 10 Commandments????
Posted By toni, plano, texas : 7:15 PM ET

Yes, I have. I am well educated on the christian religion and its traditions.

Educated enough to realise that the "ten commandments" are only ancient traditions vocally passed down the generations and eventually written down in their then-current form - but they are not the absolute truth! In legal terms, they are just "hearsay" (and someones' beliefs.) As such, they must not be used as part of the secular legal system. It would only violate the basic human rights of anyone not subscribing to those beliefs.

How could anyone be so presumptious as to force his/hers personal beliefs or rules of conduct upon anyone of different opinion?

Toni, ask yourself: What makes YOU right?!
This is such a sad story to read. It shows when no universal principles are accepted, namely principles from an Absolute Authority, that all sorts of degrading and ignorant acts are performed, accepted, and/or defended.

Until people realize that man can not generate law to its own satisfaction (hence the swing from liberal societies to total dictatorships) this type of problem will continue to occur.

One must have an absolute frame of reference, and only God can provide that through his Final Scripture. Other 'relative' frames of reference will continue to bring 'relative' conclusions that are counterproductive and worse, destructive to society.
How can that be Amazing? Even mother nature calls it wrong. It's just sick. And what's worse, this reporter sympathizes for these sickos. Just read the beginning.
in�cest �noun 1. sexual intercourse between closely related persons.
2. the crime of sexual intercourse, cohabitation, or marriage between persons within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity wherein marriage is legally forbidden.

I've seen at least two blogs where people seem to think that incest is a family member forcing themselves upon another. Please do a little research before you post ignorant comments. Forcing sex or unwanted relations upon a person is either considered Rape or molestation. Molestation if the person violated is a minor. This case is entirely different.

Now for my opinion. While I believe this case is morally wrong, this couple has already begun a family and life together. If the government doesn't want to recognize the marriage then they can do so. However, to imprison someone and take away their children because they've obviously fallen in love and started a family, that's wrong. If this is allowed to happen then next they will be imprisoning people for their sexual orientation. A line has to drawn somewhere as to how much the government can involve themselves in family affairs.
This is totally wrong. How could this have ever happened? The story should explain how they met; how long they dated;and why the parents never stepped in to stop the relationship before marriage was a discussion, never mind a reality!The lack of intervention is morally reprehensible.
100percent against God's Law. And their generations will against God's Law - till they repent

God has forbidden this because of offsprings will not be healthy
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