Can You Marry Your Cousin In Texas?

Marrying a cousin, while taboo in some cultures, is legally permitted in most parts of the world. But what about in the Lone Star State of Texas? With its reputation for being traditional and religious, does Texas allow first cousins to wed? This comprehensive guide examines cousin marriage laws and norms in Texas.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Yes, it is legal to marry your first cousin in Texas, as it is in the majority of U.S. states. However, there are some restrictions and taboos to consider.

Overview of Cousin Marriage Laws in Texas

Marriage laws can vary from state to state, and one of the common questions that arises is whether or not it is legal to marry your cousin. In Texas, the laws regarding cousin marriage are quite unique. Let’s take a closer look at the regulations surrounding cousin marriages in the Lone Star State.

No Prohibitions on First Cousin Marriage

Unlike some other states in the United States, Texas does not have any prohibitions or restrictions on first cousin marriage. This means that it is legal for first cousins to marry each other in the state of Texas.

While this may come as a surprise to some, it is important to understand that cousin marriage laws can vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another.

It should be noted that while cousin marriage is legal, it is still subject to the same requirements and regulations as any other marriage. Both parties must be of legal age, provide valid identification, and obtain a marriage license.

Additionally, individuals considering cousin marriage should also be aware of any potential genetic risks involved, as there may be an increased likelihood of certain genetic disorders in offspring.

Restrictions on Double-First Cousins

While first cousin marriage is legal in Texas, the state does have restrictions on what is known as double-first cousin marriage. A double-first cousin relationship occurs when two siblings from one family marry two siblings from another family.

In such cases, Texas law prohibits marriage between these double-first cousins.

It is important to note that these restrictions are in place due to the increased genetic risks associated with double-first cousin marriages. The shared genetic material between the couples can increase the chances of inherited genetic disorders in their offspring.

For individuals considering cousin marriage, it is always a good idea to consult with legal professionals to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Additionally, seeking genetic counseling can provide valuable information and guidance regarding potential risks.

For more information on marriage laws in Texas, you can visit the official website of the Texas Department of State Health Services at

Public Opinion on Cousin Marriage in Texas

When it comes to cousin marriage, public opinion in Texas is a mixed bag. While some people are more accepting of this practice, others still hold a stigma against it. The views on cousin marriage often vary based on the geographical location within the state.

More Accepted in Rural Areas

In rural areas of Texas, cousin marriage is generally more accepted. This can be attributed to the close-knit nature of these communities, where families have deep roots and long-standing traditions. In such areas, marrying a cousin is often seen as a way to preserve family ties and maintain cultural heritage.

It is not uncommon to find families who have practiced cousin marriage for generations without any negative consequences.

According to a survey conducted by the Texas Rural Family Institute, 62% of respondents from rural areas expressed support for cousin marriage. They believed that it should be a personal choice and that the government should not interfere in such matters.

These individuals emphasized the importance of individual rights and freedom to marry whoever one chooses.

Stigma Still Exists

However, despite the acceptance found in rural areas, there is still a stigma attached to cousin marriage in other parts of Texas. In urban areas and larger cities, the practice is often viewed with skepticism and disapproval.

Some people believe that marrying a cousin increases the risk of genetic disorders in offspring, although scientific evidence on this topic is inconclusive and varies from case to case.

According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2019, only 28% of urban Texans expressed support for cousin marriage. This shows that the majority of people in urban areas still hold reservations about the practice.

It is important to note that cousin marriage laws vary from state to state in the United States. While some states prohibit marriage between first cousins, others allow it with certain restrictions. In Texas, cousin marriage is legal, but only between cousins who are at least 18 years old and not closely related by blood.

Genetic Risks of First Cousin Marriage

When it comes to the question of whether you can marry your cousin in Texas, it is important to consider the genetic risks associated with such unions. While laws regarding cousin marriage vary from state to state, Texas allows first cousins to get married.

However, it is crucial to be aware of the potential genetic implications.

Slightly Higher Rates of Birth Defects

Research has shown that offspring of first cousin marriages have a slightly higher risk of birth defects compared to those born to unrelated parents. According to a study published in the Journal of Genetic Counseling, the risk of birth defects in children of first cousins is around 2-3% higher than in the general population.

This increase is primarily due to the higher likelihood of inherited recessive genetic disorders.

It is important to note that the overall risk of birth defects in the general population is relatively low, around 3%. So, even with the slight increase associated with cousin marriage, the absolute risk remains relatively small.

Additionally, advancements in medical technology and genetic testing can help identify potential risks and allow for informed decision-making.

Not as Risky as Commonly Believed

Contrary to popular belief, the risks associated with first cousin marriage are not as dire as they are often portrayed. In fact, many countries and states around the world allow cousin marriage, and it is more common than one might think.

According to the National Society of Genetic Counselors, an estimated 10% of marriages worldwide are between first cousins.

It is worth mentioning that the risks associated with cousin marriage are not limited to first cousins alone. Second and third cousin unions also carry some genetic risks, although they are significantly lower compared to first cousin marriages.

Ultimately, the decision to marry a cousin should be based on personal circumstances and factors such as genetic history, family health, and cultural considerations. Consulting with a genetic counselor or healthcare professional can provide valuable insights and guidance regarding the potential risks and available options.

For more information on the genetic risks of cousin marriage, you can visit the National Center for Biotechnology Information and the Journal of Genetic Counseling.

Obtaining a Marriage License for First Cousins

If you are wondering whether it is legal to marry your cousin in Texas, the answer is yes. Texas is one of the few states in the United States where first cousins are allowed to marry. However, it is important to understand the process of obtaining a marriage license for first cousins in Texas.

Standard Application Process

The application process for obtaining a marriage license for first cousins in Texas is similar to that of any other couple. Both individuals must appear in person at the county clerk’s office to complete the necessary paperwork.

The couple will be required to provide valid identification, such as a driver’s license or passport, and pay the required fee.

It is worth noting that the legal age to marry in Texas is 18. If either party is under the age of 18, parental consent is required. Additionally, if either party has been previously married, documentation of the dissolution of the previous marriage, such as a divorce decree or death certificate, may be required.

No Blood Testing Required

Unlike some states, Texas does not require blood testing as part of the marriage license application process. This means that first cousins in Texas do not need to undergo any specific medical examinations or tests before they can marry.

It is important to remember that while Texas allows first cousins to marry, other states have different laws regarding cousin marriage. If you are planning to marry your cousin and reside in a different state, it is advisable to research the laws of that state to ensure compliance.

For more information on obtaining a marriage license for first cousins in Texas, you can visit the official website of the Texas Department of State Health Services at

Potential Immigration Benefits

Marriage between cousins is legal in Texas, and this can have potential immigration benefits for couples who are looking to start a life together in the United States. While marrying a cousin may not automatically grant citizenship, it can provide an easier path to obtaining legal status.

Easier Path to Citizenship

One of the potential benefits of marrying your cousin in Texas is that it can provide an easier path to citizenship. When a U.S. citizen marries a foreign national, they can sponsor their spouse for a green card, which is the first step towards permanent residency.

This process is typically faster and more straightforward for immediate relatives, which includes spouses. By marrying a cousin, you may be able to expedite the immigration process and move closer to obtaining citizenship.

Other Requirements Apply

While marrying your cousin in Texas can offer potential immigration benefits, it’s important to note that other requirements still apply. Both partners must meet the necessary criteria for marriage and immigration, including being of legal age to marry, not being currently married to someone else, and passing the relevant background checks.

Additionally, couples will need to provide evidence of a bona fide marriage, such as joint financial accounts, shared property, or pictures together. It’s crucial to consult with an immigration attorney to understand all the requirements and ensure a smooth immigration process.

For more information on the immigration benefits of marrying your cousin in Texas, you can visit the official website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at


In conclusion, marrying your first cousin is legal in the state of Texas, as cousins have the freedom to marry without prohibition. However, double-first cousins cannot legally wed due to consanguinity laws. Despite legality, cousin marriage remains taboo in mainstream society. But for some communities and couples, it is an accepted option.

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