Michael Lee and Angela Peang have started a petition to make marriages between first cousins legal in Utah, as is the case in a number of US states and around the world.
A pair of first cousins in Utah who got married and are going to have a baby together will end up in prison if the baby is born. Reason—laws in the state make incestuous relationships illegal. The pair, Michael Lee and Angela Peang, from Eagle Mountain, are however unapologetic about their relationship despite facing flak even from a number of their own family members. They want to push for laws to be changed that allow unions between cousins, something that is allowed in many other US States and many parts of the world such as Europe. There are pictures of the pair together as children in various photo albums, but no one from their family ever thought they would be husband and wife one day.
They themselves might never have imagined the same, but the pair claim that the connection was instant. Peang’s father and Lee’s mother are siblings. The two met for the first time when they were just seven years old in 1989. Peang’s father, a State Department employee, was often posted overseas and she grew up in various places from Japan to Pakistan. Lee, a car salesman, lived in Salt Lake City in Utah. Lee said, "There was an instant connection between us. We were very much simpatico. Angie was smart, adventurous and curious. While other kids were into video games, she was interested in making little things or playing little games that were very much unique and different from those of other children.”
The two have married previously. While Paeng has three children, Paeng did not have any children from her first marriage. This one with Lee will be her first and the two cannot wait for the child to be born. After being in touch off-and-on over the years it was finally in 2018 when Paeng moved to Salt Lak City that they two really started seeing each other. "I went simply to see Michael. I don’t really mesh with the personalities of that side of the family because they’re a lot more stubborn, conservative and abrasive. But, as soon as I set eyes on him again, I knew I’d done the right thing” according to a New York Post report. There was a lot of opposition from the families on both sides when they came out about their relationship.
A white couple are facing jail for being first cousins in Utah and lo and behold... where did the wife grow up? PAKISTAN 🤦♂️ 🤦♂️ pic.twitter.com/O82zLD1OtX— uth (@uthyuth) January 11, 2020
Paeng remembers even her youngest daughter crying when they started dating. In January, they posted a photo on Facebook of them kissing, that a lot of family members were not able to handle many of who labeled them “disgusting.” Lee said, “I couldn’t care less. People (like Cathy) should only get angry about things that actually affect them.” The two also started a campaign to legalize marriages between cousins in the state.
A petition the couple started online has garnered 1,500 signatures, but they need thousands more in order for anything concrete to be done at the level of legislation. About their yet to be born child, they said, “It was such a relief. Now we are planning for a wonderful future together.” The couple's story will; air in an episode of Extreme Love on January 17 at 10 p.m. on WeTV.