Can People Who Live in Massachusetts Legally Marry Their First Cousin?

by | Mar 25, 2024 | Divorce |

This is one of those weird topics, yet at the same time, it’s rather interesting.

Any supposed risk factors aside, can you legally marry your first cousin in any of the New England States? The answer is yes, for the most part.

Here’s a rundown of each state and its laws on marriage to your first cousin.


Maine does allow you to marry your first cousin as long as you get proof of genetic counseling from a genetic counselor, which is a fancy way of saying you need to be tested to make sure there are little to no risks of genetic disorders if you were to have a child.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire does not allow first cousins to marry. However, it does allow first cousins to have sexual relations or cohabitation. It also voids all out-of-state marriages to first cousins if you move to New Hampshire. I’m so confused by this logic.


You can legally marry your first cousin in Vermont, no questions asked, and you have the green light to have sexual relations or cohabitate with them.


The same goes for Massachusetts. You can legally marry your first cousin, no questions asked, and you can have sexual relations or cohabitate with them.


Connecticut follows the leads of Vermont and Massachusetts, so you’re free to do what you have to do.

Rhode Island

You guessed it. Rhode Island has no problems with marriage or sexual relations with your first cousin.

Does this seem weird to you?

Well, according to a New York Times article from 2002, first cousins can have children together without a great risk of birth defects or genetic disease, and there is no biological reason to discourage cousins from marrying.

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