In South Carolina, marriage between first cousins is legal under state law. Here is an overview of South Carolina’s regulations regarding marriage between biological first cousins.

Marriage Between Siblings is Prohibited

South Carolina law expressly prohibits marriages between biological siblings as well as half-siblings, step-siblings, and adoptive siblings. These relationships are considered incestuous under Section 20-1-10.

Attempting to marry or engage in sexual conduct with a sibling constitutes a felony offense in South Carolina. However, first cousins are not included in the prohibited degrees of kinship.

First Cousins Can Legally Marry

In contrast to bans on sibling marriage, first cousin marriage is fully permitted in South Carolina with no prohibitions or limitations imposed by law.

This allowance includes double first cousins, who share both sets of grandparents. Despite the closer genetic tie, they may still legally wed in South Carolina.

No Special Requirements for First Cousins

Additionally, South Carolina does not impose any extra prerequisites for first cousins like genetic testing, medical examinations, or proving infertility before marrying.

First cousins have the same marriage rights and responsibilities as unrelated couples under South Carolina law. They can marry under standard marriage rules.

Social Stigma Still Exists

However, marriages between first cousins may still face some social disapproval in South Carolina due to persisting cultural taboos. Laws are gradually changing, but biases often linger.

Supporters argue it should be accepted as a personal choice, but critics worry about potential health effects on offspring. These views create stigma.


In summary, South Carolina places no restrictions on marriage between consenting adult first cousins, granting them full marital rights. But prospective couples should still prepare for skepticism from some friends and family members despite permissive laws.