Maryland Lawmaker Drops Cousin Marriage Ban Bill - NBC4 Washington

Maryland Lawmaker Drops Cousin Marriage Ban Bill



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    A Maryland delegate who sought to ban marriage between first cousins said he won't push the bill this year.

    Delegate Henry Heller, D-Montgomery, said Thursday that some state lawmakers had concerns that his House Bill 1021 would lead to a debate about gay marriage.

    He said he agreed to drop the matter because he didn't want to put colleagues in jeopardy in an election year.

    Heller, a retired special education administrator, said couples who are first cousins are at an increased risk of having a child with birth defects.

    His bill would have exempted people who are over age 65 or infertile. Heller said he has no problem with those couples if they want the companionship.