Jerry Lee Lewis: "Whole Lotta Marryin' Goin' On"

Jerry Lee Lewis, the infamous singer from the 1950s and 1960s who shot to fame with such hits as "Great Balls of Fire" and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On," has married for the seventh time at the ripe old age of 76.

The lucky bride? His cousin's ex-wife, Judith Brown.

Judith Brown, People.com reports, is the ex-wife of Jerry's second cousin, Rusty Brown. Rusty Brown, interestingly enough, is not only Jerry's second cousin, but also his ex-brother-in-law.

In 1957, Jerry Lee Lewis married Rusty's sister, Myra Gale Brown, also his second cousin, when she was only 13. At the time, the marriage was the third for Jerry and the first for Myra and the scandal that ensued derailed Jerry's career.

An interesting fact to be determined based on these same facts is whether in Ontario (or Canada, for that matter) it is legal and permissible by law to marry a second cousin.

Believe it or not an entire Act has been drafted and enacted dealing with this exact issue. Basically, if you are considering marrying within your family, such as Jerry did in 1957 when he married Myra, it would be advisable to refer to the Marriage (Prohibited Degrees) Act, S.C. 1990, c. 46, prior to doing so to ensure that your marriage will be valid and permitted by law.

Pursuant to the Marriage (Prohibited Degrees Act), "persons related by consanguinity, affinity or adoption are not prohibited from marrying each other by reason only of their relationship." However, "no person shall marry another person if they are related lineally, or as brother or sister or half-brother or half-sister, including by adoption."

Therefore, and to clarify, it appears the following is true (please note that the following list is not all-inclusive):

  • Brothers and sisters cannot marry one another in Canada;
  • Fathers and/or mothers cannot marry their children in Canada; and
  • Grandparents cannot marry their grandchildren.

A lineal relationship is a direct, straight line descendency which can be illustrated as follows:

Grandparent

Parent

Child

Despite the strict boundaries delineated in the Marriage (Prohibited Degrees Act), it appears that even in Ontario (or Canada) Jerry's marriage to Myra, his second cousin, would have been permitted since the two were not related lineally nor were they siblings.

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