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Thousands of people marry their first or second cousins every year. After all, can you name all your third cousins and fourth cousins and those even further away in the family tree? There is always a strong possibility that you unknowingly married a distant cousin. Six states ban marriage between first cousins once removed, i.e., marrying the son or daughter of your first cousin. Some states have more “interesting” laws, such as Arizona: first cousins may marry only if both are sixty-five years of age or older. No European country prohibits marriage between first cousins. is the only western country with cousin marriage restrictions.
One article I read claims that twenty percent of all married couples in the United States are cousins. The only way to find out is to research both of your family trees. In America, marrying your first cousin is legal in 25 states. It is also legal throughout Canada and Mexico to marry your first cousin. Many people believe that the Bible is a higher authority than the laws of men.
Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York, married his second cousin once removed, Regina Peruggi Samuel F. Morse, inventor of the Morse Code, took his first cousin once removed, Sarah Elizabeth Griswold, as his second wife.
Johann Sebastian Bach married his second cousin, Maria Barbara Bach.
It should be noted too that the risk of birth defects can rise for reasons other than familial closeness, like having children later in life or marrying into your own ethnicity.
There are certain hereditary diseases that arise more frequently in particular ethnicities and are more likely to occur when two people of the same "tribe" marry -- and this applies widely.
Talk to a Lawyer If you or someone you know has a legal question about a family matter, like whether cousins can marry in your state, talk to a lawyer.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures: "Twenty-five states prohibit marriages between first cousins.
Six states allow first cousin marriage under certain circumstances, and North Carolina allows first cousin marriage but prohibits double-cousin marriage.
Albert Einstein married his cousin, Elsa Lowenthal, and we can probably all agree that he was a pretty smart fellow.
So why is marrying a first cousin frowned upon in this country and outright barred in half of the states?