The Birmingham MP who married his first cousin yesterday criticised a Government Minister who warned that arranged marriages to cousins were causing birth defects in Pakistani communities.
Khalid Mahmood (Lab Perry Barr), said Environment Minister Phil Woolas had raised important issues but the comments were not "helpful".
Mr Mahmood, aged 46, married his first cousin, Rifat, when he was in his 20s.
The couple had a child, who is now a teenager, before they split in 1992.
He was speaking after Environment Minister Phil Woolas warned that first-cousin marriages caused medical problems.
Speaking this weekend, Mr Woolas said: "The issue we need to debate is first-cousin marriages, whereby a lot of arranged marriages are with first cousins and that produces lots of genetic problems in terms of disability."
The comments caused anger among some Muslim organisations, and the Muslim Public Affairs Committee called for Mr Woolas to be sacked.
Mr Mahmood said he had full confidence in the Minister, but added: "Phil is trying to be helpful, but I don't think it came across in the way that he hoped.
"Who people marry is a matter of personal choice. These are issues which do need to be addressed. However, they need to be raised in a helpful way."
The practice of marrying first cousins was already becoming rarer, he said.
Mr Woolas received warmer backing from fellow Birmingham MP Roger Godsiff (Lab Sparkbrook & Small Heath). Mr Godsiff said: "There is a lot of factual truth in what he said, which is borne out by medical opinion.
"There is a high level of genetic disorder in the Muslim community, specifically among Muslims from the Pakistani or Kashmiri community, due to marriages of first cousins.
"It can lead to conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease. This is simply a medical fact. It is perfectly legal and people have to make their own decisions. I am not passing comment on who anyone chooses to marry.
"But if the suggestion is that we need to ensure everyone is aware of the medical dangers then I agree with that."
But Downing Street tried to distance itself from Mr Woolas. The Prime Minister's spokesman said Mr Woolas had been speaking in his capacity as a constituency MP.
However Cabinet Minister Geoff Hoon, the Chief Whip, appeared to back Mr Woolas.
Mr Hoon said: "He was commenting on a particular problem about cousins marrying first cousins. It is important that we look at that in terms of scientific expertise and the extent to which it is actually causing problems."