UTAH - Two first cousins in Utah are petitioning for their home state to recognize their relationship after recently traveling to Colorado to legally marry.
“This is a lifelong friendship and we love each other,” Angie Lee told the Daily News Wednesday. “I would say that this is something that I wouldn't expect people to understand if they weren't going through it themselves.”
Angie Lee, 38, says she and Michael Lee, 37, "have been in love with each other" their whole lives.
Angie's father is the oldest of 12 children, and he is also Michael's mom's brother.
On Monday, they traveled to Colorado where they legally married.
In Utah, first cousins can only marry if "both are over 65, or, if both parties are over 55, if the court finds that they are unable to reproduce."
Now, the Lees are hoping to change Utah’s law and have started a Care 2 petition called, “Allow first cousins to Marry in Utah,” to gather signatures.
As of Thursday afternoon the petition had 336 supporters of their 1,000 signature goal.
According to 23andMe, first cousins share an average of about 12.5 percent of their DNA. Compared to 6th cousins, which share only about .01 percent.
The Genetic Literacy Project reports children who have first cousins as parents are more likely to develop mood disorders and have a 5 percent chance of getting a single-gene condition. The risk is half that for children whose parents are not first cousins.
“I’m not really worried about it,” she said.
Angie says they plan to talk to Utah lawmakers next.
“As far as it needs to go. We have family members who have still been like, this is wrong,” she said. “The more social support we can get, the more I think we’ll feel like we won’t be excluded from the family.”