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“Survivor” Winner Nick Wilson Withdraws Bill Legalizing Sex Between First Cousins in Kentucky: 'I Made a Mistake'

Wilson said that an "inadvertent change" caused "first cousins" to be struck from the list of relationships included under the incest statute

Kentucky Legislative Research Commission Representative Nick Wilson
Kentucky Legislative Research Commission Representative Nick Wilson

Survivor winner turned Kentucky lawmaker Nick Wilson is clarify things after filing a state bill on Tuesday that would legalize sex between first cousins, which he later called a "mistake."

The bill -- as it was initially filed -- went viral and was criticized. On Wednesday, Wilson addressed the criticism by stating that there was an error during the drafting of the state bill.

"During the drafting process, there was an inadvertent change, which struck “first cousins” from the list of relationships included under the incest statute, and I failed to add it back in," Wilson explained in a Facebook post early Wednesday. "During today’s session, I will withdraw HB 269 and refile a bill with the “first cousin” language intact."

Wilson said the purpose of the bill was to "add 'sexual contact' to the incest statute."

"Currently, incest only applies in cases of intercourse. So sexual touching/groping by uncles, stepdads, or anyone with a familial relationship is not included in incest. My bill makes that kind of sexual contact a Class D Felony unless the victim is under the age of 12, then it increases the penalty to a Class C Felony," he outlined in the Facebook post.

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The bill was withdrawn during Wednesday's session, per the Kentucky General Assembly's website. The state representative said he would "refile a bill with the 'first cousin' language intact," hoping it would "get a second chance."

"This is a bill to combat a problem of familial and cyclical abuse that transcends generations of Kentuckians. I understand that I made a mistake, but I sincerely hope my mistake doesn't hurt the chances of the corrected version of the bill," his statement read.

Kentucky Legislative Research Commission Representative Nick Wilson
Kentucky Legislative Research Commission Representative Nick Wilson

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On Wednesday afternoon, Wilson provided a new update on Facebook, confirming that the bill had been refilled, writing, "House Bill 289 adds 'sexual contact' to incest, applies a penalty to such conduct, and adds incest to the violent offender statute. This bill makes NO other changes to current law."

The post included a link to the Kentucky General Assembly's website that had a copy of the amended bill, showing "first cousins" included.

Wilson won Survivor: David vs. Goliath in 2018 and returned for 2020's Survivor: Winners at War. In March 2023, he faced backlash for supporting the controversial SB 150, which was seen as dangerous to the LGBTQ+ community, being that it includes a ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth.

Robert Voets/CBS via Getty "Survivor" winner Nick Wilson
Robert Voets/CBS via Getty "Survivor" winner Nick Wilson

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"This is a bill that pertains only to children. This is not 'anti-trans' or 'anti-LGBTIA+ legislation.' SB150 is a bill aimed at protecting children from making life-altering decisions at too young of an age. If you're a Kentuckian over the age of 17, then your rights are not affected by this bill whatsoever," he told PEOPLE in a statement.

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