States Where First Cousins Can Legally Marrygeorge
For example, first-degree cousins are not allowed to marry in Michigan, and such marriages in Michigan are considered null and void from the outset. However, a 1973 Michigan Supreme Court decision found that a marriage between first cousins married in Hungary was still valid. Like Maryland, Massachusetts allows first-degree cousins, first cousins once removed, to marry half-cousins by adoption, live together, and have sex. Some news sources then referred only to the provisions on polygamy and child abuse, ignoring the part of the law relating to marriage between cousins, as did some more recent sources.     The new law made sexual intercourse with a first-degree adult cousin a more serious crime than with adult immediate family members. However, this law was amended in 2009; While sexual intercourse with close adult family members (including first-degree cousins) remains a crime, the harshest penalty is now associated with sexual relations with a person`s direct ancestor or descendants.  As a general rule, fundamental rights are automatically subject to rigorous scrutiny.130 See, for example, Reno v. Flores, 507 U.S. 292, 301–02 (1993); see also Wardle, cited in footnote 63, p. 325, paragraph 156.
In matrimonial matters, however, the Court has applied everything from a rational examination on the basis to a more thorough examination.131 Wardle, op. cit. cit., note 63, pp. 341-42. The Obergefell development of the doctrine of equality resolved the stricter examination that was possible in standard cases of equal protection of a particular protected class and linked it to the right to marry.132Obergefell, 576 U.S. at 675, 681 („These considerations lead to the conclusion that the right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and that under the due process and equal protection provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment, same-sex couples cannot be deprived of this right and freedom. [The applicants] demand equal dignity in the eyes of the law. »).
The right to marry oneself bears the heaviest burden.133See Tribe, op. cit. cit., note 95, pp. 20-28. In Texas, the only relationships with permission to marry are first-degree cousins who were abducted once. First cousins, half-cousins of adoption are not allowed to marry. First-degree cousins in Texas are also not allowed to live together, nor are they allowed to have sex. The courts are of the opinion that the alleged health risks associated with breeding between first cousins are not sufficiently established to justify the prohibitions.203See for example: In re Est.
of Loughmiller, 629 P.2d 156 (Kan. 1981); cf. Mazzolini v. Mazzolini, 155 N.E.2d 206, 208 (Ohio 1958) (found no reason „shocking to morality [or] irreversible to clearly defined public order“ justifying the annulment of a marriage in the first degree); Garcia v. Garcia, 127 N.W. 586, 589 (S.D. 1910) (conclusion that there was no reason to invalidate a marriage valid in the first degree, an extreme measure that would have had unnecessarily „very serious“ consequences for the children of the marriage in trusts and estates and the criminal law). Interestingly, the cousin prohibitions closely resemble previous state laws that prevent people with physical or mental „inferiority“ from marrying, procreating, or having sex. Grossman & Friedman, op. cit.
Cit. note 51, pp. 39-42. Some of these classifications were based on genetic and inherited diseases, others on contracted and treatable conditions. These included prohibiting people with epilepsy from marrying and requiring men to obtain medical certificates certifying that they were free of STDs before they could obtain a marriage certificate. Id., pp. 40-41. By the turn of the century, most laws restricting marriage because of alleged health problems had been repealed. Id., p.
42. Cousin bans are among the opponents. The Kansas Supreme Court, in Estate of Loughmiller, recognized a marriage of first cousins that was legally solemnly contracted in a foreign jurisdiction despite the state`s ban on cousins.204629 P.2d at 157–60. The court dismissed genetic science as simply too uncertain to justify a harmful theory of inbreeding,205Id. at 158 („Inbreeding is thought to cause a weakening of the racial and physical quality of the population according to the science of eugenics. [but] there are opposing views on the effects of consanguinity resulting from marriages with first cousins. and refused to repeal the normative comity rule of recognition of marriages legally contracted outside the state.206Id. („The general rule for the recognition of marriages contracted elsewhere is that if the marriage is valid where it was contracted, it is valid everywhere. »); Mazzolini agreement, 155 N.E.2d to 208 („The policy of the law is to keep marriages where they are not incestual. Sex between cousins is not incestuous. [W]e are convinced that we will [maintain the marriage]. »); see also Storke, op. cit.
cit., note 55, pp. 493-97 (consideration of conflict-of-laws issues arising from conflicting rules of marriage between cousins); see generally P. H. Vartanian, Annotation, Recognition of Foreign Marriage as Affected by Policy in Respect of Incestuous Marriages, 117 A.L.R. 186 (1938). Similarly, the Louisiana Court of Appeals in Ghassemi v. Ghassemi noted that the bans did not pursue a legitimate state interest in creating sick children.207998 So. 2D 731, 748 (La. Ct. App.
2008) (stating that the state, as „first-degree cousins, can legally live together, have intimate relationships and even have children“, could not claim that the production of children was the risk against which it protected itself). The American consensus was once also in favor of the practice. Marriage to first-degree cousins in the United States was common, legal, and socially acceptable from colonial times to the nineteenth century.36Paul & Spencer, op. cit. cit., note 25, pp. 2627-29; see also Ottenheimer, op. cit. cit., note 19, p. 58. Southern legal tradition has explicitly ratified marriage to first cousins.37Bees, op. cit. Footnote 19, 1529 n.90 (the South using Archbishop Parker`s table of degrees, which excludes first cousins to define „incest“ and prohibited marital relations).
All states that now prohibit relations with first-degree cousins have fully authorized them over the past century and a half.38See section I.B. Angie Peang and Michael Lee married in Colorado.1Caitlin O`Kane, first cousins in love with each other Petition to Legally Marry in Utah, CBS News (March 6, 2019, 11:44 a.m.), www.cbsnews.com/ News / First cousins in love-in-other-petition-to-marry-legally-in-Utah [perma.cc/ 68P6-JMV5]. But when they crossed the border into Utah, where they lived,2Id. their union turned into an „incestuous and void“ union.3Utah Code Ann. § 30-1-1(1)(e) (West 2021) („The following marriages are incestuous and void, whether the relationship is legitimate or illegitimate: Marriages between first cousins.“).. for the spouses were first cousins.4O`Kane, note 1 above. While Colorado is one of nineteen jurisdictions that do not prohibit marriage between first cousins, Utah is among the majority that prohibits or severely restricts such unions.5 See Section I.B. Not only does Utah revoke the legal recognition of Peang-Lee marriage, but if the couple has sex in their home state, they can be charged with a third-degree felony.
punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.6Utah Code Ann. §§ 30-1-1(1), 76-7-102 (West 2021) (making it a third-degree felony under the state incest law for first-degree cousins to have sex); Criminal Penalties, Utah Cts., www.utcourts.gov/ howto/criminallaw/ penalties.asp [perma.cc/ VGF2-VMA2].