Unlike many other states, Colorado does not prohibit or restrict couples from marrying their first cousins. If you and your first cousin both live in Colorado, you can legally tie the knot. Here’s an overview of what Colorado’s marriage laws say about cousin couples.
No restrictions for first cousins
Colorado law does not prohibit marriage between first cousins. There are no special requirements or extra steps cousins must take in order to marry. As long as you are both consenting adults, you can apply for a marriage license just like any other couple.
This sets Colorado apart from about half of U.S. states that either ban first cousin marriage entirely or allow it only under special circumstances. In Colorado, cousins have the same marriage rights as unrelated couples.
However, it’s important to remember that the legality can be different if you and your partner live in different states. Be sure to check the laws in both locations.
What about double cousins?
In Colorado, there are also no restrictions on marriages between double first cousins. Double cousins share both sets of grandparents instead of just one. They are genetically similar to half-siblings.
Nonetheless, Colorado considers double cousins equivalent to first cousins when it comes to marriage. As long as you both meet age and consent requirements, you can marry even if you happen to be double cousins.
No prohibitions for other relatives either
In addition to first cousins, Colorado permits marriage between other close relatives who are not direct ancestors or descendants. For example, you can legally marry your aunt or uncle in Colorado. Niece-uncle and nephew-aunt marriages are allowed as well.
The only relatives you cannot marry in Colorado are direct ancestors and descendants such as parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren, or siblings. You also cannot marry stepchildren or adopted children.
But these marriages may not be recognized
It’s worth noting that even though Colorado permits first cousin marriages, other states are not required to recognize those marriages as valid. A handful of states still prohibit cousin marriages entirely.
If you get married in Colorado but then move to one of those states, your marriage may not be considered legal in your new home state. Make sure to consult a local attorney if you plan to relocate after marrying your cousin.
Why allow cousin marriage?
Supporters of permitting cousin marriage argue that prohibitions contradict principles of personal freedom and individual choice in matters of love and family. They claim adults should have autonomy to make decisions about their private relationships.
They also argue there is insufficient evidence of genetic harm to justify banning cousin marriages entirely. The suspected risks are small when couples undergo genetic counseling and testing.
Check public opinion too
While legally permitted, cousin marriages may still be socially stigmatized in many communities. Even if allowed, you may encounter judgment, criticism or rejection from friends and family. Make sure to carefully consider not just the law itself, but also how your relationship may be viewed.
In summary, Colorado is among the minority of states that places no restrictions on individuals who wish to marry their first, double, or other non-direct cousins. You can marry your cousin in Colorado with the same legal rights and responsibilities as any other couple. Just be aware that relocating or traveling to other states could put your marriage at risk of not being recognized. Consider your own circumstances carefully before making this major commitment