וְאִשָּׁה אֶל אֲחֹתָהּ לֹא תִקָּח לִצְרֹר לְגַלּוֹת עֶרְוָתָהּ עָלֶיהָ בְּחַיֶּיהָ.
γυναῖκα ἐπ᾿ ἀδελφῇ αὐτῆς οὐ λήψῃ ἀντίζηλον ἀποκαλύψαι τήν ἀσχημοσύνην αὐτῆς ἐπ᾿ αὐτῇ, ἔτι ζώσης αὐτῆς."Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her — beside the other, in her lifetime."
— Lev. xviii. 18.
Fact. 1. Marriage with a deceased wife's sister is nowhere prohibited, whether expressly or impliedly, either in the Old or New Testament.
Fact 2. Twenty-three spiritual peers, including two archbishops, have declared it to be their opinion that there is no Scriptural prohibition of this marriage.
Fact 3. This marriage was never prohibited by the laws of any country in the world before the fourth century of the Christian era.
Fact 4. This marriage may be lawfully celebrated in every country in the world, except our own.
Fact 5. Neither in this, nor in any other country, has it been shown that the permission of this marriage has been attended with injurious consequences.
Fact 6. Thousands of such marriages have been contracted; they are found in every town and neighbourhood in the Kingdom.
Fact 7. Petitions, having l,170,756 signatures, have been presented for the repeal of the present restriction.
"It seems to be established and admitted that the moral feeling of the community at large is not with this law — that the law, in fact, is not obeyed, and that a great number of persons, not considering themselves to commit any moral offence, do contract marriages which the law prohibits. This is not a state of things which ought to exist; and not being of opinion that there is any moral objection to the contracting of these marriages, and believing that the law as it stands is the cause of a great deal of misery and social evil especially among the middle and lower classes of the community, I shall with great pleasure give my vote for the motion."
— Speech of Lord Palmerston.
"I must say that I have satisfied myself that there is not any religious prohibition of these