In Canada, federal law allows marriage between first cousins nationwide. Here is an overview of Canada’s legal landscape concerning cousin unions.

Federal Law Permits Certain Relative Marriages

The federal Marriage (Prohibited Degrees) Act defines the prohibitions around which relatives can legally marry in Canada. It bars direct lineal marriages between ancestors/descendants and siblings.

However, the law expressly states that individuals related by blood as cousins or other collaterals may validly marry in Canada. This includes biological first cousins as well as adoptive cousins.

Provincial Laws Align on Cousin Marriage

Additionally, provincial laws across Canada align with federal regulations in permitting first cousin marriages. No province imposes further restrictions or requirements on cousin couples.

Canadian first cousins enjoy full marriage rights nationwide. Double first cousins may also legally marry despite their closer degree of kinship.

Social Acceptance Still Varies

However, even though lawful coast to coast, social acceptance of cousin marriage differs across communities and demographics. Surveys indicate most Canadians oppose unions between first cousins.

But attitudes diverge between generations, religious groups, and cultural backgrounds. Stigma may be declining gradually but remains present.

Rationale for Permitting Cousin Marriage

Those advocating cousin marriage argue prohibitions are unsupported by evidence and excessively limit personal liberty around marriage choices. Canada emphasizes individual rights.

But stigma lingers due to associations with incest and concerns about potential health effects on offspring. Laws and attitudes do not always align.


In summary, federal and provincial laws permit first cousin marriage in Canada, granting couples autonomy. But social tolerance fluctuates, so cousins should expect mixed reactions. Overall, the law clearly allows cousin unions nationwide.