Massachusetts is one of the many states that allows marriage between first cousins. Here is an overview of Massachusetts laws concerning cousin marriage and some additional considerations for couples.
Cousin Marriage is Legally Permitted
According to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 207, marriage between biological first cousins is legal in the state. There are no prohibitions or limitations imposed on marrying your first cousin in Massachusetts.
This allowance extends to double first cousins as well, who share both sets of grandparents rather than just one. Despite the closer genetic connection, double first cousins may legally wed under Massachusetts law.
No Special Requirements for Cousins
Additionally, Massachusetts does not impose any extra prerequisites for first cousins to marry such as genetic testing, medical screening, or proving infertility.
Cousin couples enjoy the same marriage rights and process as non-related couples when applying for a marriage license. First cousins can marry unimpeded based on standard eligibility rules.
Social Stigma Still Exists
However, even though it is legal, marrying a first cousin may still face social disapproval in Massachusetts communities. Surveys show many residents have moral objections or concerns about potential health effects on children.
So while legally permitted, first cousin couples may encounter skepticism, judgment or rejection from family and friends who view the relationships as taboo despite permissive laws.
Interstate Recognition Not Guaranteed
It’s also worth noting that marriages between first cousins, while valid in Massachusetts, are not guaranteed to be recognized in all other states. Laws vary nationwide, so moving or traveling out of state poses potential complications.
First cousin couples should research both their state of residence and any states they have ties to in order to understand the implications of their relationship on benefits, rights, and privileges.
In summary, Massachusetts places no restrictions on marriage between consenting adult first cousins. But social attitudes may still pose challenges, and legal recognition in other states is uncertain. Cousins considering marriage should approach the decision thoughtfully.