In Germany, marriage between first cousins is legal under German civil law. However, this was not always the case historically. Here is an overview of Germany’s evolving laws concerning cousin unions.
Current Laws Permit Cousin Marriage
According to Germany’s Civil Code today, marriage is permitted between biological first cousins without any prohibitions or limitations in effect. There are no current German laws banning cousin marriage.
This legal allowance also extends to double first cousins, who share both sets of grandparents. Despite their closer degree of kinship, German law does not bar double first cousins from marrying either.
Past Prohibitions Have Been Lifted
However, first cousin marriage was not always permitted in Germany. Prior to the 1919 Weimar Constitution, Germany followed Roman Catholic canon law which prohibited first cousin marriage.
But after Germany became a secular state, this religious prohibition was eventually lifted. Modern German civil law places no restrictions on cousins marrying today.
Cultural Views on Cousin Marriage
Despite permissive modern laws, views on cousin marriage remain mixed across German society. Surveys show younger people are more open to it, but concerns around potential birth defects and incest taboos persist, especially among older generations.
Supporters argue bans excessively restrict personal choices. But objections and stigma remain, though bans have been lifted.
Rationale Behind Germany’s Approach
By neither prohibiting nor promoting cousin marriage today, German law emphasizes individual liberty and choice for consenting adults. It does not impose moral or genetic judgments, allowing couples to make their own informed decisions.
In summary, German civil law allows first cousin marriage between consenting adults with no current prohibitions. But social acceptance fluctuates, so cousins should expect mixed public reactions. Legally, Germany places no restrictions on marrying your first cousin.