Utah first cousins who are married and expecting their first child in May face upto five years in prison for incest

The couple faces five years in prison and a $10,000 fine due to Utah's legislation prohibiting family members engaging in sexual intercourse or getting married


                            Utah first cousins who are married and expecting their first child in May face upto five years in prison for incest
Angela Peang (L) and Michael Lee (R) (Care2 Petitions)

EAGLE MOUNTAIN, UTAH: A married couple from is facing jail following the birth of their first child being born out of incest as they are first cousins.

Michael Lee and Angela Peang are related to each other. Peang's father is Lee's mother's elder brother.

The couple from Eagle Mountain, Utah is due to face as many as five years in prison and a fine for $10,000. This is because Utah prohibits relatives from engaging in sexual intercourse, charging them with incest. Incest is a third-degree felony in the state, and the legislation stems from the longstanding fear of birth defects in the offsprings. 

"We had to do our due diligence because everyone was saying to us: ‘No, don’t do that,’ and ‘It’s so risky and irresponsible.’ So we did genetic testing and found out it was OK for us to parent together," Peang, who is currently five months pregnant, told the New York Post. "It was such a relief, now we are planning for a wonderful future together."

Last March, Michael, and Angela drove across state lines to Grand Junction, Colorado so they could get married. Marriage between cousins is also illegal in Utah, despite several other states allowing the same, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and California.

"We got married, not because we’re religious, but to protect ourselves legally," Peang, who has three children from her first marriage, added. "We also wanted to legitimize our relationship to console members of our family, hoping it would put them at ease."

During the interview with 'The Post', she also revealed how they first met at the age of seven, and were seen as inseparable by the family ever since.

"The adults wouldn’t say: ‘Where is Michael?’ They’d say: ‘Where are Michael and Angie?’ It felt like a soul connection – as if I could see myself reflected in him," Peang recalled.

Both got divorced from their former partners in the early 2010s and began to date each other after being reunited at a family Christmas party. Their respective parents took time to accept the notion but some relatives labeled them as "disgusting" outright, especially after they posted a photo of themselves kissing each other on social media.

Peang described their relationship as "supercharged."

"We have a strong attraction and it’s very mutually satisfying. You have the erotic side, the friendship side, the family side, and the spiritual connection," she said.

Peang and Lee have now launched a petition to legalize marriage between cousins.

"We believe that the law is outdated and it needs to be changed so that we can socially legitimize our love," the page reads. It has garnered more than 1,500 signatures thus far.

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