It is currently legal for first cousins to marry in Colorado.
The state laws prevent closer relationships such as brothers and sisters.
The marriage license application form in Colorado asks if the couple is related by blood. If they specify cousins, there is no impediment to marriage.
This article reviews the important aspects of cousin marriage within the Centennial State.
Types Of Cousins That Can Get Married In Colorado
All types of cousins can get married in Colorado, including:
If you’re not clear on what these relationships are, click on the links above. You’ll find full explanations and examples.
It’s important to be sure that your partner is your cousin and not your half-sibling. Half siblings aren’t allowed to marry in Colorado.
If you’re unsure about the difference, we have it covered in our article on what a half sibling means.
What You Should Know About First Cousin Marriage In Colorado
Colorado requires that you apply for a marriage license to get married.
You don’t have to be a resident. But be aware that some states in the U.S. may not recognize your marriage if they prohibit first cousin unions.
You will need to attend an appointment with a county clerk. This doesn’t need to be in the county of your residence (if you live in Colorado) or where you intend the wedding to be.
Be prepared for the possibility that the county clerk will ask you if you are related in any way. Don’t worry and just explain the relationship.
Does the Colorado marriage form ask if you’re related?
We reviewed the marriage license application form from Douglas County in 2022.
The form asks if the applicants are related to blood, and has a section to fill in the precise details.
Don’t worry. Just state that you are first cousins. This does not impede marriage in Colorado.
Who Can’t Get Married In Colorado?
These are the relationships that are prohibited from marriage in Colorado’s law books:
A marriage between an ancestor and a descendant or between a brother and a sister, whether the relationship is by the half or the whole blood;
A marriage between an uncle and a niece or between an aunt and a nephew, whether the relationship is by the half or the whole blood, except as to marriages permitted by the established customs of aboriginal cultures.Colorado marriage laws
The major point is that first cousins aren’t listed here. Colorado laws don’t say explicitly that first cousins can marry.
They simply don’t mention the relationship in their restrictions.
Do People Travel To Colorado To Get Married?
Colorado is bordered by Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming.
Of these states, only New Mexico does not restrict marriage between first cousins. Utah allows it in restricted circumstances.
Because Colorado has no such restrictions, there are occasional news reports about the state being a “destination” for first cousins from other states who wish to marry.
One such couple traveled in 2019 to Grand Junction, Colorado in order to get married. They normally reside in Utah where first cousin marriage is illegal.
But this wasn’t a case of impetuous youth. Both cousins had previously been married but had divorced from their first spouses.
Since they’ve been married, they have been involved in a movement that is trying to garner support to get the state laws in Utah overturned.
Colorado as an alternative venue
Our overview of first cousin marriage in the United States has a color-coded map which shows that Colorado is a natural alternative to many other states.
These states have the Centennial State as the nearest option:
- Minnesota (first cousins not allowed)
- Montana (first cousins not allowed)
- North Dakota (first cousins not allowed)
- Oklahoma (first cousins not allowed)
- South Dakota (first cousins not allowed)
Note that many states do not recognize out-of-state marriages that are illegal in their own jurisdiction.
Roman Catholic Marriages
If you want to celebrate your Colorado wedding in a Roman Catholic church, you will face separate challenges.
There is a process you need to go through with the hierarchy in order to get permission to marry in a church ceremony. We explain in detail in our general article on first cousins (scroll down to the end).
What about other cousins?
Second cousins (and further out) don’t need to get special permission for a Catholic Church marriage.
We suggest that you mention to your priest that you are second cousins before the service. This means he won’t get uneasy if he hears mention of “cousins” from other people.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Colorado allow relatives to marry?
Colorado does not allow close relatives to marry.
More distant relatives such as first and second cousins are allowed to marry in the state.
Can you marry a sibling in Colorado?
Colorado does not allow siblings to marry.
Half-siblings are also not allowed to marry.
Is it legal to marry your second cousin in Colorado?
Marriage between second cousins is legal in Colorado.
Other cousin relationships, such as first and third cousins, are also allowed to marry in the state.
The codes and laws referenced in this article may not be the most recent version. Colorado may have more current or accurate information.
We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on other sites.
Please check official sources.