Did Bell Endorse Using Genetics to Restrict Marriage?

​No. Bell gave a talk in 1891 on the subject of marriage at what is now Gallaudet University. He said, “I know that the idea has gone forth, and is very generally believed in by the deaf of this country, that I want to prevent you from marrying as you choose, and that I have tried to pass a law to interfere with your marriages. But, my friends, it is not true. I have never done such a thing, nor do I intend to… I want you to distinctly understand that I have no intention of interfering with your liberty of marriage. You can marry whom you choose, and I hope you will be happy.”

In a 1908 article for National Geographic Magazine titled A Few Thoughts Concerning Eugenics, Bell notes that “the moment we propose to interfere with the liberty of marriage we tread upon dangerous ground. The institution of marriage not only provides for the production of offspring, but for the production of morality in the community at large. This is a powerful reason why we should not interfere with it any more than can possibly be helped.”

Bell goes on to note that “the community has no right to interfere with the liberty of the individual and his pursuit of happiness in marriage unless the interests of the community are demonstrably endangered. The happiness of individuals is often promoted by marriage even in the cases where the offspring may not be desirable.”

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