Marriage Index
Van Deusen/Kosinski Collection

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To this property sufficient attention appears not to have been generally bestowed. The very statement of the question, which has become popular and is always adopted: whether a man may marry the SISTER OF HIS DECEASED WIFE? is a proof that the principle of affinity is not well understood, or, at least, not duly appreciated. Whether the question be thus worded with a design to hide the whole truth, or only through inadvertency, it is certainly calculated to mislead the public mind, and insinuate, that the woman in question was near of kin to the deceased wife, but that she sustains no relation at all to the husband; which is most assuredly false, for she is very near of kin to him. It is true she is not related to him in blood, and so the step mother, daughter in law, and uncle's wife are not related in blood, yet they are related in affinity, they are near of kin, they are prohibited relatives. - It is true, she is the sister of the deceased wife, but it is also true that she is the sister of the husband. As with other relatives, so here, there are sisters by blood, and sisters by affinity; both are REALLY SISTERS, and they are both, by the divine law established and declared to be such. The husband is therefore nearly related to that woman. She is not


only the sister of the deceased wife, but she is also in truth HIS SISTER. The law of God has constituted her HIS SISTER. The question then ought to be stated; "whether it be lawful for a man to marry HIS SISTER, by whatever principle or bond she may have become his sister?" but such an honest and candid phraseology would anticipate a denial too prompt and speedy to please those who are interested or prejudiced in favour of a contrary decision.

2.  Affinity is EXTENSIVE. It creates the same kindred between the husband and all the relations by consanguinity or affinity of his wife, and between the wife and all the relations by consanguinity or affinity of her husband. In consequence of this, the parents of the husband are brought into the relation of parents to the wife, and her parents are so to him. His brothers and sisters are become the brothers and sisters of his wife, and her brothers and sisters are his, and thus all the branches mutually in the direct and collateral line. Hence it is, that all who are prohibited by consanguinity in the direct line downwards or upwards, and all in the collateral line, as brothers or sisters, uncles or aunts, nephews or nieces, are equally forbidden in affinity, upon both


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