Singh v. Singh
213 Conn. 637, 569 A.2d 1112 (1990)
David and Seoranie were
married in Connecticut. They were happily married for a while until they
learned that Seoranie's mother was David's estranged sister, making them
uncle and niece as well as husband and wife.
The pair filed for an annulment on the grounds that the marriage was void.
Under Connecticut State law,
uncles and nieces were not eligible to marry.
A few years later, they found
out that Seoranie's mother was in fact only David's half-sister.
Connecticut State law (§46b-21, and §53a-191) did not explicitly say that uncles cannot marry
The pair filed to have the annulment reversed. They also got remarried in
California, which allowed uncles and half-nieces to marry.
See People v. Baker (442 P.2d 675 (1968)), which found that uncle
half-niece relationships were not a crime.
Seoranie had some visa
issues, and was likely to get deported if their marriage was not valid.
The Trial Court declined to
reverse the annulment. David and
The Trial Court found that
under the common-law, prohibited degrees of relationship by blood
included persons of half-blood as well as whole blood.
The Connecticut Supreme Court
The Connecticut Supreme
Court noted that §46b-21 did not
explicitly mention half-blood relatives.
However, the Court found
that Connecticut incest laws date back to 1702 and were based on British
ecclesiastical laws. Those laws treated whole blood and half-blood
See Butler v. Gastrill (25 Eng.Rep. 110 (1722)).
The Court noted that there
has been no change in the Connecticut law since 1702.
The Court found that §46b-21 should be read to encompass half-blood
relatives, because it is all part of the same statutory scheme.
The couple did share some of the same blood, afterall.
Even though their marriage was
valid in California, it did not transfer to Connecticut because
Connecticut found that it was against strong public policy.