A bill to make marrying your first cousin illegal has passed in the Tennessee House of Representatives — but two lawmakers actually voted against it after a proposed amendment got shot down.

House Bill 2041 making it illegal for first cousins to marry was first introduced in January, and WSMV reports that the Tennessee House passed the bill in a vote on Thursday (April 11).

However, it did not pass unanimously, after Rep. Gino Bulso (R-Brentwood) proposed an amendment that would allow first cousins to marry if they underwent genetic counseling first.

What Is the Debate Over First Cousins Marrying in Tennessee?

Bulso explained that while the bill needed to pass in order to prevent cousins from marrying and having children with an increased risk of birth defects, it was too broad, since two male cousins or two female cousins could marry without facing those potential complications.

The lawmaker also argued that the risk for birth defects resulting from two cousins conceiving a child is just 1.7 to 2.8 percent, according to the Journal of Genetic Counseling, so his proposed amendment would have allowed first cousins to marry after receiving genetic counseling.

Nashville Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D-West Nashville) quickly moved to table the amendment, closing down the discussion. Bulso and Rep. Monty Fritts (R-Kingston) ended up being the only lawmakers to vote against the bill, which will now await Tennessee Governor Bill Lee's signature.

Are There Still States Where It's Legal to Marry Your First Cousin?

When the bill is signed into law, Tennessee will join Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Hampshire and Delaware in making marriage between first cousins illegal.

Marriage between first cousins is still legal in California, Alaska, Hawaii, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Alabama, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

In Utah, Arizona, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Maine, marriage between first cousins is legal under certain circumstances.

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