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JAMA 100 Years Ago
February 23, 2000


Author Affiliations

JenniferReiling, Editorial Assistant

JAMA. 2000;283(8):980. doi:10.1001/jama.283.8.980

An attempt is being made to have a law enacted in Colorado restricting marriages, such as has been proposed in one or two other communities. Like the other propositions, this one includes the appointment of boards of medical examiners who shall determine the applicants' freedom from hereditary and infectious disease, and their general moral and physical fitness for the marriage relation and its consequences. Marriage or cohabitation in violation of the act is to be an offense punishable by not less than four nor more than seven years in the penitentiary. The idea of human stirpiculture, to use a word coined by the lawbreakers of the Oneida Community, seems to be fascinating, but there are some objections. In the first place such a law to be enforced must be general, and that is not likely to be the case. Even less rigid enactments regulating marriage are practically dead letters, like the law forbidding the marriages of first cousins in some states, which is evaded by simply crossing a state line. When such a comprehensive one as that proposed in Colorado is attempted, wherever it may be, it is safe to say that serious difficulties will arise in its enforcement.

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