Settling an age-old question that had baffled legal scholars for centuries, renowned barrister and American law expert Aganetha L. Schneider of Harrisonburg claims there’s no longer any room for debate when it comes to Mennonite divorce.
“They remain cousins,” Schneider says. “Even in cases of desertion or adultery the divorced Mennonite couple simply reverts to the status they had before they were lawfully wed, that being first cousins.”
While not yet tested in court, Schneider feels that any legal challenge to the cousin status of divorced Mennonites would fail in a court of law.
“Think about it, people. Your grandparents remain the same whether you’ve been married or divorced,” said Schneider. “You still call that old lady who hands out the tütes filled with peanuts at Christmas ‘Grandma’ don’t you? Of course you do. Divorced or not, Grandma stays the same…thus, you remain cousins.”
Mennonite leaders found the new information deeply comforting, as the hardships and instability of divorce can now be mitigated to some degree by familial ties.
“It’s comforting to know,” said one Mennonite elder, “that in sickness and in health, whether married or divorced, we will remain cousins forever.”
(Photo credit: Elliot Brown/CC)