What are the cousin marriage laws in your state?

Cousin Marriage License Laws in the US

Is it legal and morally acceptable to marry your cousin? The answer will vary depending on your definition of the word “cousin”, your location and your personal or cultural beliefs.

What is a cousin?

There are many degrees and types of primes. While first cousins ​​are closely related, second and third cousins ​​are not. Here are some definitions:

  • a first cousin: the child of your aunt or uncle (your parents’ brother’s child) is your first cousin
  • a second cousin: your father’s cousin’s son is your second cousin
  • a cousin once (or twice) removed: a cousin separated by a generation (e.g. your cousin is your cousin once removed)
  • third cousin: the children of your parents’ second cousin

You are likely to meet and spend time with your first cousins. You can meet your second cousins. But unless you have a particularly large and close family, you may never have found cousins ​​or third or fourth cousins ​​who are removed once or twice.

Why is there a taboo against cousins ​​getting married?

In some cultures, there is a taboo against cousins ​​marrying cousins. This taboo is rooted in rules and laws against incest, and the result of genetic concerns: Closely related People can share genes for a variety of diseases and developmental problems. When siblings marry, children are more likely to be born with these illnesses or other problems.

In fact, however, while children of unrelated couples have a 2-3% risk of birth defects, children of first cousins ​​have a 4-6% risk. This is not a huge increase in risk, although it is real. So first cousins ​​who marry (assuming they are doing so legally) should certainly seek genetic counseling before having children.

But many cultures do encourage cousin marriages, for a variety of reasons. Queen Victoria, for example, married her first cousin in order to maintain a royal lineage and forge political alliances. Many Asian cultures encourage first-degree marriage to strengthen inter-clan relationships.

In the United States, second cousins ​​are legally allowed to marry in all states. Furthermore, the genetic risk associated with second cousins ​​having children is about as small as it would be between two unrelated individuals. Marriage between first cousins, however, is legal in only half of US states.

Which states allow first-cousin marriages?

As you will see, many states allow first cousin marriages only if there are no descendants of those marriages. Others allow cousin marriages only under special circumstances. An adoptive cousin or a half-cousin can marry.

  • Alabama: first cousins, yes.
  • Alaska: first cousins, yes.
  • Arizona: First cousins, yes, only if they are over a certain age or unable to have children. Half cousins, yes.
  • California: first cousins, yes.
  • Colorado: first cousins, yes.
  • Connecticut: first cousins, yes.
  • District of Columbia: first cousins, yes.
  • Florida: first cousins, yes.
  • Georgia: first cousins, yes.
  • Hawaii: first cousins, yes.
  • Illinois: First cousins, yes, only if they are over a certain age or unable to have children.
  • Indiana: first cousins ​​once removed, yes, only if over a certain age or unable to have children.
  • Kansas: Half cousins, yes.
  • Louisiana: Marriage between first cousins ​​is not permitted.
  • Maine: first cousins ​​yes, only if they are over a certain age or unable to have children, or if they receive genetic counseling.
  • Maryland: first cousins, yes.
  • Massachusetts: first cousins, yes.
  • Minnesota: No, unless the couple’s Aboriginal culture allows for cousin marriages.
  • Mississippi: Adopted first, yes.
  • Montana: Half cousins, yes.
  • Nebraska: Half cousins, yes.
  • Nevada: Half cousins, yes.
  • New Jersey: first cousins, yes.
  • New Mexico: first cousins, yes.
  • New York: first cousins, yes.
  • North Carolina: first cousins, yes. Double cousins ​​cannot marry.
  • Oklahoma: Half cousins, yes.
  • Oregon: I adopted cousins, yes.
  • Rhode Island: first cousins, yes.
  • South Carolina: first cousins, yes.
  • Tennessee: first cousins, yes.
  • Utah: First cousins, yes, only if they are over a certain age or unable to have children.
  • Vermont: first cousins, yes.
  • Virginia: First cousins, yes.
  • West Virginia: adopted cousins, yes.
  • Wisconsin: first cousins ​​once removed, yes, only if over a certain age or unable to have children.
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