Incest in Germany will remain illegal, according to a decision handed down by The European Court of Human Rights.
MSN reports the decision was upheld after a German brother-sister couple argued that their home country had no right to penalize their relationship.
The pair did not grow up together, but met in their 20s after the brother, who had been adopted, tracked down his biological family, according to the MSN article.
The couple has four children, two of whom reportedly are described as having "disabilities."
In Germany, incest is punishable by law if consummated between people related by blood in direct line only.
This means a relationship between parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren plus among siblings and half siblings.
The penalty is a fine or up to 3 years of prison.
Incest between relatives who are minors (below 18 years old) at the time of offence is not punishable but remains a crime, therefore aiding and abetting of incest between related minors is punishable.
The legal term used in German jurisdiction is "Beischlaf".
The high court cited the damages inbreeding can cause to offspring, MSN reports.
If the court had overturned the ban, it would not be the first European effort to decriminalize incest.
France doesn't prosecute such relationships, and Sweden allows half-siblings to marry.
While kissing cousins are allowed in some U.S. states, every state and the District of Columbia have some form of codified incest prohibition.
However, individual statutes vary widely.
Rhode Island repealed its criminal incest statute in 1989,while Ohio only targets parental figures and New Jersey does not apply any penalties when both parties are 18 years of age or older.
In Texas, a marriage is void if one party to the marriage is related to the other as:
(1) an ancestor or descendant, by blood or adoption; (2) a brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption; (3) a parent's brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption; or (4) a son or daughter of a brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption.
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