Marriage between cousins is a topic that sparks debate due to its legal, social, and genetic implications. Laws regarding cousin marriage vary from country to country and state to state, with some allowing it and others prohibiting it. Let’s delve into the legal aspects of marrying your first cousin in Missouri, a state in the United States of America.
Could you please explain what a first cousin is?
A first cousin is someone who has the same set of grandparents as you. Take this scenario: if your father’s brother has a child, that child becomes your first cousin. You and your first cousin share 12.5% of your DNA, indicating a closer relationship compared to the majority of individuals.
Can you provide information about the law in Missouri?
In Missouri, it is against the law to marry your first cousin, as stated in Missouri Revised Statutes, Section 451.020. Here is what the law states:
All marriages between parents and children, including grandparents and grandchildren of every degree, between brothers and sisters of the one-half as well as of the whole blood, and between uncles and nieces, aunts and nephews, and first cousins, are prohibited and declared absolutely void. This section shall apply to illegitimate as well as legitimate children and relatives
Marriage between close relatives, such as parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, and siblings, is also prohibited by the law. The law does not make any exceptions for age, infertility, or consent.
What are the outcomes of violating the law?
If you decide to marry your first cousin in Missouri, your marriage will be considered null and void, rendering it legally ineffective. You won’t have access to the rights and benefits of marriage, including inheritance, property, tax, health care, and immigration. Additionally, engaging in certain familial relationships can result in serious legal consequences, including felony charges in the state of Missouri. If someone is found guilty of incest, they can face a maximum prison sentence of seven years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
What other options are available?
If you’re considering marrying your first cousin, there are a few options available to you. Consider relocating to a different state or country where cousin marriage is permitted. As per Wikipedia1, first cousin marriage is permitted in 19 states in the US, including California, New York, and Florida. It’s important to note that certain states may not acknowledge your marriage if it was conducted in a state where it is considered illegal. Take Arizona2 and Kentucky3 as an illustration, where the laws nullify cousin marriages from out-of-state.
You may also consider consulting with a family law attorney for legal guidance. A lawyer can assist you in identifying legal strategies, such as obtaining judicial approval or a genetic counseling certificate, that may provide solutions within the framework of the law. On the other hand, this choice can be quite expensive, potentially dangerous, and take up a lot of time.
You may want to consider exploring other options and finding a different partner who is not closely related to you. This option is straightforward, secure, and widely accepted. It’s important to consider the potential health risks associated with having children with your first cousin, such as an increased likelihood of birth defects and genetic disorders.
To sum up, getting married to your first cousin in Missouri is against the law and can result in significant legal and social repercussions. Consider exploring alternative options, such as relocating to a different state or country, consulting with a legal professional, or finding a new partner. In the end, the decision is up to you, but it’s important to consider the potential risks and difficulties.