DNA test couples before marriage: UK Asian peer

LONDON (TIP): Britain’s first Asian woman peer -Baroness Flather – has raised a storm by telling the House of Lords that couples who are getting married should be forced to have a DNA test first to ensure they are not cousins.

Raising serious concern around how first cousin marriages in Pakistani communities in the UK were leading to disability among the children born out of such unions, Baroness Flather said during a debate that the practice is rampant among Pakistanis who come from the Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

She said, “We know so much about DNA now, but there is so much disability among the children, which is absolutely appalling. You go to any such family and there will be four or five children, at least one or two of whom will have some disability. That is absolutely unacceptable, and if we cannot do anything about it, is it fair to the children?” house She added, “Never mind the parents — it is not fair to the children that they should be allowed to become disabled because of a social practice. It is a social practice which does not belong in today’s age. There should at least be some rule which says that you must have a DNA examination before your marriage can be registered.”

Reacting to the debate, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for communities Baroness Williams of Trafford said “My Lords, I can confirm that first-cousin marriages are against the law in this country and the church does not condone them.”

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