The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan federal court on 1 April, and is asking for a judge to declare incest laws “unconstitutional” so that a parent can marry their offspring in a New York City ceremony, according to documents obtained by the New York Post.
“Through the enduring bond of marriage, two persons, whatever relationship they might otherwise have with one another, can find a greater level of expression, intimacy and spirituality,” the parent argued in the filing.
The lawsuit has kept the identities of both parties vague, with the genders, ages, address and names of both the parent and adult child currently unknown.
The parent wrote in the court papers that they decided to stay anonymous because their request is “an action that a large segment of society views as morally, socially and biologically repugnant”.
However, the filing does confirm that “the proposed spouses are adults. The proposed spouses are biological parent and child,” and reveals that “the proposed spouses are unable to procreate together”.
The documents describe the parent and child as a “PAACNP (Parent and Adult Child Non-Procreationable)” couple and claims it would “diminish their humanity” if they could not be legally married.
The parent has not yet proposed to their offspring, and explained that they have not done so as they feel that it would cause “emotional harm” if they were engaged but not legally allowed to marry.
When applying for a marriage licence in New York City, both spouses must reveal the name and country of birth of their parents and declare that there are no legal impediments to the marriage.
Incest is currently a third-degree felony in New York state, which can be punished with up to four years in prison for each offender.
Incestuous marriages performed in the state are also not recognised by New York, with spouses facing up to six months in prison and a fine for going through with a ceremony.
The pair have not yet applied for a marriage licence, but Manhattan family and matrimonial law attorney Eric Wrubel told the Post that the lawsuit is “never gonna fly”.
Incest between consenting adults is illegal in every US state apart from New Jersey and Rhode Island, but marriage is prohibited in those states along with the rest of the country.
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