Are there any specific laws regarding the marriage of first cousins in Florida?

Understanding Cousin Marriage Laws in Florida

When it comes to the marriage of first cousins, laws vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another. In the United States, individual states hold the power to legislate on this matter. This article explores the specific legal framework addressing the marriage of first cousins in the state of Florida.

Florida's Stance on First Cousin Marriages

In Florida, the statutes are clear regarding the marriage between first cousins. According to Florida Statute 741.21, marriages between persons related by lineal consanguinity, or a brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece of the whole or half-blood are prohibited. However, this prohibition does not extend to first cousins. Consequently, it is legally permissible for first cousins to marry in Florida.

Historical Context and Public Policy

The variation in laws concerning cousin marriages across different states reflects historical preferences and public policy considerations. Some states have enacted prohibitions based on concerns about genetic risks and social norms, while others like Florida do not consider marriage between first cousins as a significant enough risk or social taboo to warrant legislation against it.

In the past, marriages between close relatives were more common due to smaller community sizes and limited mobility. As societies expanded and concerns over genetic diseases became more prominent, many states reconsidered their laws on consanguineous marriages.

Legal Implications for Cousin Marriages in Florida

Couples who are first cousins and wish to marry in Florida can do so without legal impediments specific to their consanguineous relationship. Nonetheless, they must still comply with all other marriage requirements in the state, such as age restrictions, obtaining a marriage license, and not being currently married to another person.

It is also worth noting that while cousin marriages are lawful in Florida, couples may face varying degrees of acceptance within their communities. Moreover, should such a couple move to another state where first cousin marriages are prohibited, they may encounter legal challenges or recognition issues concerning their marital status.


To summarize, while some regions have strict regulations against the marriage of first cousins due to concerns over genetic health risks and social customs, Florida permits such unions. First cousins considering marriage in the state should be aware of their rights and any broader social implications but will not face specific legal obstacles based on their familial relationship under Florida law.