Can First Cousins Marry In Hawaii? (Explained)

It is currently legal for first cousins to marry in Hawaii.

The state laws prevent closer relationships such as siblings.

Couples must apply for a marriage license. The application form may ask if the couple are related. However, a first cousin relationship is not an impediment.

This article looks at what you need to know about first cousin marriages in Hawaii.

Marriage In Hawaii

What You Should Know About First Cousin Marriage In Hawaii

Hawaii requires that you apply for a marriage license to get married in the Aloha State.

The license must be signed in the presence of a marriage license clerk.

No need for residency

Hawaii is a tourist destination for marriages and makes it very easy for non-residents to have their wedding ceremonies in the state.

You don’t have to be a resident or even a U.S. citizen.

However, first cousins should be aware that some states in the U.S. may not recognize your Hawaii marriage if they prohibit first cousin unions.

Applying for a license

You can download the marriage application license form from the state government website.

However, you can’t complete the process online or through the post. You do have to meet with a marriage license clerk in person.

This may be at the Department of Health in Honolulu. Alternatively, there are licensed clerks available on other islands in the archipelago.

Does the Hawaii marriage form ask if you’re related?

We reviewed the application form available on the Hawaii government website in 2022. The form asks if the applications have a blood relationship.

Here’s a picture of the relevant part of the form.

They don’t give a lot of space to enter the details! Don’t be concerned. You simply need to stipulate “first cousins”.

Completing the marriage license

You will complete the license application form and give it to the marriage license clerk, along with your ID and other necessary documents.

Be prepared for the possibility that the clerk may ask you to clarify the nature of your blood relationship.

Don’t worry. Just explain which of your parents are siblings.

Types Of Cousins That Can Get Married In Hawaii

All types of cousins can get married in Hawaii, 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 a half-sibling. Half siblings aren’t allowed to marry in Hawaii.

If you’re unsure about what this relationship means, check out our article that explains what half-siblings are in clear terms and pictures.

Who Can’t Get Married In Hawaii?

The Hawaii marriage laws prohibit several different relationships. Here is what they have to say about prohibited marriages:

Between ancestor and descendant, any degree, brother and sister half or whole-blood, uncle and niece, aunt and nephew legitimate or illegitimate; bigamous.

Hawaii marriage laws

What does brother and sister half or whole blood mean? This means either a half or full sibling.

Why first cousins are legal

You’ve probably noticed that first cousins aren’t included in the list.

Hawaii laws don’t say explicitly that first cousins can marry. They simply don’t mention the relationship in their restrictions.

I’ve seen articles online that say that the laws are ambiguous are unclear. I don’t agree. But that doesn’t really matter.

The official Hawaii website has this to say:

Cousins may marry, but a blood relationship between the prospective bride and bridegroom cannot be closer than first cousins.

Hawaii website

Roman Catholic Marriages

If you want to celebrate your Hawaii wedding in a Roman Catholic church, you will face a separate hurdle.

Historically, the Catholic Church hasn’t been keen on first cousin marriages. However, the church laws have been relaxed somewhat in recent years.

There is a process that first cousins need to go through with the hierarchy in order to get permission to marry in a church ceremony. This is known as a dispensation.

We explain in detail in our general article on “what are first cousins” (scroll down to the bottom).

What about second cousins?

Second cousins (and further out) don’t need to get special permission for a Catholic Church marriage.

We suggest that you explain the second cousin relationship to your priest before the service. This means there will be no confusion for the celebrant if there is mention of “cousins” during casual conversation later.

If you’re not sure about whether you are first or second cousins, check out our article that explains what second cousins are. It has diagrams that make it clear.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some quick answers to common questions.

Does Hawaii allow relatives to marry?

Hawaii 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 Hawaii?

Hawaii does not allow siblings to marry. Half-siblings are also not allowed to marry in the state.

Is it legal to marry your second cousin in Hawaii?

Marriage between second cousins is legal in Hawaii.

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. Delaware 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.

Margaret created a family tree on a genealogy website in 2012. She purchased her first DNA kit in 2017. She created this website to share insights and how-to guides on DNA, genealogy, and family research.

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