Can You Marry a Cousin in Illinois or Missouri? It’s Complicated
I had someone ask me this (and I don't want to know why) and my immediate reaction was of course not. However, once I did some research I found that whether or not you can marry a cousin is complicated and it's different if you live in Illinois or Missouri.
Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer and this is NOT legal advice. I had someone ask me and I researched it and that's why this happened. (*ahem*)
Please don't blame me for this one. This quest for cousin marriage truth started with an article by none other than Reader's Digest who claimed "although some view it with a negative stigma, the fact is you can marry your cousin in every state in the United States." I think I speak for most everyone when I say "Eww".
The truth however is much more complicated. Believe it or not, there's an entire section of Wikipedia dedicated to cousin marriage law in the United States.
Here's a summary of what they shared. In Illinois, cousin marriage is banned in every situation pretty much. In Missouri, first cousin marriage is banned while first cousin removed is apparently OK?
There is one unique twist that Missouri adds where "relations" are apparently not outlawed among first cousins, but marriage is. Once again...eww.
Here are a few of the states where first cousin marriage is perfectly legal according to Wikipedia:
- Florida (of course)
There are a few others, but I really don't think I have the guts to continue. Suffice it to say that my perception is society frowns upon even the thought of this practice, but do what you will with the information.
My guess is even though the concept of this is disgusting to me and this article wasn't my idea, this will guarantee I'm not invited to any more family reunions.