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The Controversial Legitimization of Incest by the German Ethics Council - Tradition versus Modernity?

October 02nd, 2014
Incesto Leonid 2.10.2014.jpeg
News from Berlin. Leonid Zalischiker - On September 24, 2014, the German Ethics Council (Ethikrat) published a position paper which stated that sex between siblings, also known as incest, should be decriminalized. The Ethikrat is based in Berlin and was founded in 2007 to provide recommendations to the German justice and other state organs in relation to ethic, moral, natural scientific, medicinal, and judicial questions. The Ethikrat, consisting of twenty-six independent academics, scholars, experts, and specialists in various fields (members are not allowed to be part of the German parliament), argued that the German criminal law should not be used to uphold social taboos, and that the current criminalization of incest is no longer appropriate in the modern era. The German Ministry of Justice has already declared that it will not advocate the Ethikratís recommendations, and that incest will remain a criminal offense for the foreseeable future.

Psychologist Michael Wunder, a member of the Ethikrat, recently gave an interview to Stern, a popular German periodical, where he justified the proposed decriminalization by stating that siblings who chose to indulge in sexual activities with one another feel constrained in their freedom. He also rejected a remark by the interviewer, who pointed towards the well-documented high rate of disability in children produced by incest, by proclaiming it to be an argumentation that builds upon ideas of eugenics. According to Wunder, the criminalization of incest is not timely anymore. However, the overwhelming majority of the reactions in the German media supported the Ministry of Justice in its denial to heed the proposed legalization of incest.

News from Berlin - Berlin Global