Is It Legal To Marry Your Cousin In England

In England, marriage between biological first cousins is legal under the law. Here is an examination of England’s regulations concerning unions between cousins.

English Law Permits Cousins to Marry

According to the Marriage Act 1949, marriage is permitted between biological first cousins in England and Wales without any prohibitions or limitations imposed. There are no regulations barring cousins from marrying.

This allowance also extends to double first cousins, who share both sets of grandparents rather than just one. Despite being genetically similar to half-siblings, double first cousins may legally wed under English law.

No Extra Requirements for Cousins

English first cousins can marry under the standard marriage regulations. There are no special prerequisites like genetic testing, medical screenings, or proving infertility required specifically of cousin couples seeking to wed.

Cousins have the same rights and follow the same marriage rules as unrelated couples under English law when applying to marry. There are no extra hurdles.

Cultural Views on Cousin Marriage

However, even though lawful, views on cousin marriage remain mixed across English society. Surveys show younger generations are more open to it, but objections around potential birth defects and incest taboos persist, especially among older demographics.

Supporters argue bans are unnecessary infringements on personal freedom around marriage choices between consenting adults. But stigma remains present.

Rationale Behind England’s Approach

By permitting cousin marriage, England’s law emphasizes individual liberty and choice. It does not impose moral or health judgments, allowing couples to make their own informed decisions after weighing multiple factors.


In summary, English law places no restrictions on marriages between biological first cousins. Cousins have the same rights to marry as non-related couples. But social acceptance fluctuates, so they should expect mixed public reactions despite permissive laws.

Leave a Comment