Marriage between cousins was once fairly common, not least in royal circles, with Norway's own king the product of parents who were first cousins. Now the Labour Party's committee on integration, headed by Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, wants to ban such unions, setting off debate because of the stigmas it could create.
The head of the Norwegian Immigrants' Forum (Norsk Innvandrerforum) calls the proposal a "travesty." Experts are also skeptical, claiming there's not enough medical proof that all such marriages can cause the genetic health problems that Labour fears.
"A ban is no solution," Athar Ali, head of the Norwegian Immigrants' Forum, told newspaper Dagsavisen. In contrast to Støre's concerns about marriages between cousins, Ali speaks warmly about them and points to several advantages.