Cousin Marriage Laws in the USA
Is it allowed by law to get married to your cousin? Is it approved by moral norms? The answers to these questions vary regarding the interpretation of the word "cousin," state, local cultural and religious views. Let's have a brief look at the main statements of the US marriage law.
What is the Meaning of the Term "Cousin"?
A cousin is a man or a woman that is leastwise one generation away relative to your family. For instance, the children of your uncles and aunts are your first cousins, and accordingly, then cousins' kids of your parents are your second cousins.
What is Regulated by Cousin Marriage Laws in the US?
Cousin Marriage Laws are the rules and regulations which control the ability of cousins to get married to one another. Mostly, the term "cousin" makes reference to first cousins. Normally, the law specifies if it touches other meanings. In places, cousin marriage laws can also be tightly connected with the incest laws.
Disapproval to first-cousin marriage in the USA appeared at the times of the Puritans when the first settlers from Europe opposed this type of union after the book “Consanguinity in Context” of a geneticist Alan Bittles was written.
The first laws on cousin marriage entered into force at the time of the Civil War when Kansas banned this practice in 1858, and then such states as Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming followed Kansas.
Which States Forbid Marriages Between Cousins?
At the moment, certain states still forbid marriages of first cousins. Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia are among them.
Meanwhile, some states have supplemental limitations referring to cousin marriage. For example, Arizona permits cousins to marry, but only in case if at least one of them can’t have children. In Maine, any relations between cousins are judged as a civil violation and are punished by a fine. Thus, the legitimacy of cousin marriages is decided by the state.
It is clear, some states do not opposite first cousin marriages given that people will have no children, while others allow such marriages only under specific circumstances. For instance, adoptive cousins might get permission to be married.
Besides these marriage regulations, some states forbid any sexual relations and concubinage between cousins with the purpose of relationships, too.
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What Legal Help Can be Obtained Regarding the Laws on Cousin Marriage?
Cousin marriage laws are considered some of the most variegated laws. They do vary broadly from one state to another one and are subject to repeated amendments. You might require legal help with these laws in your area from your family lawyer. Your counsel may provide you with representation and make recommendations regarding your rights.