The French government is set to ban incest for the first time since 1791 even if both parties are over the age of 18 years.
Incest is legal in France for those over 18, but the government is planning to criminalise the practice.
“Whatever the age, you don’t have sexual relations with your father, your son or your daughter,” said Secretary of State for Children, Adrien Taquet in an interview with AFP.
“It is not a question of age, it is not a question of consenting adults. We are fighting against incest. The signals must be clear,” Taquet explained.
According to the secretary of state, “The law is to issue clear prohibitions in society: incest is prohibited.”
Crimes including incest, blasphemy and sodomy were removed from the statute book in 1791, following the French Revolution in a bid to end all Christian-inspired morality introduced by the old regime.
Welcoming the statement, Chairman of Child Protection Charity said it was important to ensure that the practice was ‘legally forbidden’ as much as it was ‘socially forbidden.’
Last year, the issue came to the fore when Olivier Duhamel, one of the most prominent French political commentators, was accused of sexually abusing his own stepson.
The 70-year-old’s stepdaughter Camille Kouchner had accused him of abusing her twin brother for two years when he was 14.
Though Duhamel admitted the allegations were true, he was never prosecuted because of the French statute of limitations.
As the allegations came to the surface lastr year, President Emmanuel Macron called for tightening of the regulations prompting legislators to prohibit sexual relations with a relative under the age of 18.