In Maryland, marriage between first cousins is permitted under state law. Here is a look at Maryland’s regulations concerning marriage between biological cousins.
Marriage Between Siblings Prohibited
Maryland law expressly prohibits marriages between biological siblings as well as step-siblings. These unions are considered incestuous under Maryland Code §2-202.
Attempting to marry or engage in sexual activity with a sibling constitutes a misdemeanor offense. However, first cousins are not included in the prohibited degrees of kinship under Maryland law.
First Cousins Can Legally Marry
In contrast to sibling relationships, first cousin marriage is fully permitted in Maryland. There are no prohibitions or limitations imposed on marrying your biological first cousin.
Double first cousins, who share both sets of grandparents, are also allowed to legally wed in Maryland. Despite the closer genetic connection, state law does not bar double first cousin marriage.
No Special Requirements for Cousins
Additionally, Maryland does not impose any special requirements for cousins such as genetic testing, medical examinations, or proving infertility.
First cousins have the same marriage rights as unrelated couples under Maryland law. Cousins can marry under standard marriage rules.
Compare Nationwide Cousin Marriage Laws
It’s important to understand that cousin marriage laws vary substantially across the 50 states. Roughly half of states currently prohibit marriage between first cousins.
Others like Maryland allow it unconditionally, while some require genetic counseling for cousin couples first. Laws continue shifting toward acceptance.
Social Stigma Still Exists
While legal, marriages between first cousins may still garner social disapproval in many communities due to traditional taboos. Cousin couples should be prepared for skepticism or judgment.
Supporters argue it is a personal choice, but critics worry about potential health effects on offspring. These cultural norms often persist even as laws change.
In summary, Maryland places no restrictions on marriage between first cousins, granting them full marriage rights. But prospective cousin couples should still consider possible social ramifications before taking the plunge