Thursday , July 19 2018


Debby Zutant, 50, from Key West, Florida, married Joe, 37, three years ago after being together for 15 years – despite it being illegal to marry a sibling in the US

A WOMAN has married her long-lost half-brother, despite it being illegal in the United States.

Debby Zutant, 50, from Key West, Florida, married husband Joe, 37, three years ago at a registry office after 15 years together

The duo, who share the same father, claim they experienced Genetic Sexual Attraction (GSA) – a condition where people fall in love with their long-lost relatives.

Debby was 35 and Joe was 23 when they first met in 2003, and Debby says it was “love at first sight”.
They had sex on their second date and moved in together within two weeks of knowing each other.

The pair hid their taboo relationship from their family for 10 years, and claim authorities never noticed they were related as they had different surnames

Debby, an artist, has decided to speak out in a bid to raise awareness about GSA, and insists she is not ashamed of the unorthodox relationship.

She says: “Although Joe and I are siblings, when we met, we both fell madly in love with each other.
“I know we share the same blood, but we never grew up together so it is completely different to other siblings.

“I was adopted when I was three, I always felt something was missing and yearned to find my real family.”
When Debby was 35, she paid a private investigator over £2,000 to hunt down her biological parents.

She says: “When I was reunited with my mum and dad, my father told me that I had a half-brother called Joe.

He showed me a photo of him – I’ll never forget staring at the man who had the same dad as me.
“I was so curious to meet more of my family, so decided to get in touch with Joe.”

The following year in 2004, Debby finally met Joe at a family party in New York.

She says: “It sounds so cliché, but when Joe and I both locked eyes, it really was love at first sight.
“For the first time in my life, I felt like a whole person. It was like we were two missing pieces of a puzzle finally coming together.”

The next night Joe, also an artist, asked Debby out for dinner. Debby claims it was then when Joe confessed he felt the same way about her

She says: “Before we went for dinner, I felt like I was getting ready for a date, I was having second thoughts because I couldn’t get him out of my head.

“However I was relieved when Joe told me at dinner that he thought I was beautiful, and we both admitted we had feelings for each other.

“After our second date, we made love. It didn’t feel weird at all – it felt natural and like we belonged together.”

Afterwards, worried about what others would think of their relationship, Debby decided to research her feelings online.

That’s when she discovered GSA and realised that she wasn’t the only person who had fallen for a long-lost family member.

The following week the couple moved in with each other, but kept their union a secret in fear of criticism.
Debby says: “Whenever we had visitors, we would pretend that Joe slept in the guest room

“And when we attended family parties, we pretended to just be brother and sister.

“Sadly, mine and Joe’s dad passed away three years after we met, so he never ended up finding out about us.
“I only told my close friends, thankfully they all told me to just be happy and that they supported me.
“Joe didn’t tell a soul; I knew he was afraid of what people would think.”
In 2005, Debby left her corporate office job and started an art business with Joe in Florida.

Finally, in 2014, the couple came out their families about their secret relationship.
Debby says: “I was a nervous wreck when I told our family.

But it turned out a lot of them had already guessed what was going on.
“They all said that as long as me and Joe were happy, they would never judge us.”

Despite it being illegal to marry a sibling in the United States, Debby and Joe got married in their local registry office a year later.

People who marry their siblings face jail time of up to 15 years as well as an £18,000 ($24,000) fine in the US.
Debby says: “Although it’s illegal, Joe and I got married, we are too in love to care.

“The registry office didn’t notice we were related as we had different surnames, so we got away with it.
What is Genetic Sexual Attraction?
Genetic Sexual Attraction (GSA) is when sexual feelings develop between two family members who first meet as adults.

It can happen to parents and children, siblings and half-siblings, usually when one has been abandoned, adopted or raised apart due to divorce or separation.

In the UK, sex with a parent, child, sibling, nephew, niece, uncle or aunt is defined as incest and is illegal under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

People who commit such crimes can face a maximum two-year penalty.
The term GSA was coined in America in the 1980s by Barbara Gonyo, who founded a support group after her experience with the son she met 26 years after adoption.

“We then had a second ceremony on a boat in Cuba under the sunset. As we gazed into each other’s eyes, I knew I wanted to be with him for the rest of my life.

“When we returned home, we had a third wedding celebration with our family and my adoptive family.
“Now Joe and I have been together for 15 years, and have been married for nearly three years.

“Funnily enough, we never actually talk about being related; it’s a stupid taboo that hopefully won’t exist in the future.

“I think our dad would have accepted us, after all he would want us to be happy like the rest of our family do.
“You can’t help who you fall in love with, love is love.”

We previously told how a 19-year-old man fell in love with his long-lost mum after tracking her down on Facebook.
In the UK, sex between immediate family members is against the law, under terms of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

This map of Europe reveals where sex is legal between consenting siblings.
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