It is currently illegal for first cousins to marry in Nevada.
First cousins once removed are also not allowed to marry. The state also does not allow marriage between half first cousins.
Second cousins and other more distant relationships are allowed.
This article reviews the important aspects of cousin marriage within the Silver State. If you’re not familiar with half first cousins (or even first cousins once removed), we’ll explain them in full.
What Do The Nevada Marriage Laws Say About First Cousins?
The Nevada marriage laws have a short clause about marriage between cousins.
Here is the relevant section:
… not nearer of kin than second cousins or cousins of the half blood.Nevada marriage laws
Clearly, second cousins are allowed to marry. But what does “half blood” mean?
And what are other cousin relationships that are closer than second? Let’s take a closer look.
First cousins are not allowed
First cousins are closer (nearer of kin) than second cousins.
This wording ensures that first-cousin marriages are not allowed in the state.
If you’re not sure about what this relationship means, we go into it in detail in our article on first cousins.
What about first cousins once removed?
The child of your first cousin is your first cousin once removed.
Here is a diagram of one family relationship that is first removed:
This isn’t the only family relationship that fits the bill. You can see other scenarios in our article that explains first cousin once removed relationships.
This is a closer relationship than second cousin, which means it is not a valid marriage in Nevada.
Half blood and half first cousins
“Half blood” is a rather archaic term now. Let’s break it down.
When two siblings share the same parents, they are whole blood relatives. We usually call them full siblings.
Their children are first cousins of the whole blood.
When the siblings only share one parent, we call them half-siblings. This is also known as a half blood relationship.
Their children are first cousins of the half blood. We also call them half first cousins. This relationship is not allowed to marry under the Nevada laws.
Basically, if your cousin’s parent is a half sibling of your parent, then you are half first cousins.
If that seems confusing, then it’s much easier to understand with a picture. We’ve got a diagram of the half cousin relationship here.
Are there any exceptions to the laws?
Some other states generally don’t allow first cousin marriage but have some allowances based on child-bearing capacity or other criteria.
In contrast, Nevada has a blanket ban within the state. There are no special exceptions.
Types Of Cousins That Can Get Married In Nevada
Marriages between second cousins are allowed. Of course, more distant cousins are also permitted.
If you’re not sure what the difference is between the various relationships, the links below will give you diagrams and clear explanations.
Does The Nevada Marriage Application Form Ask If You’re Related?
Some U.S. states have a section in their marriage application forms where the couple must state whether they have a blood relationship.
You can see an example in our article on first cousin marriage in Hawaii.
We reviewed the application form for a marriage license from Clark County in 2022. There is no such question present.
I point this out because I can see how people could get married without being aware of the impediment. However, when you sign the form you are affirming that there is no impediment to your marriage.
Do Nearby States Allow First Cousins To Marry?
Nevada is bordered by Arizona, California, Idaho, Oregon, and Utah. The Golden State is the only one that allows first cousins to marry.
You can check out our article on first cousin marriage in California.
Looking for a destination wedding spot?
Do you live in a state or country where first cousin marriage is legal and you simply wanted to visit Nevada as a destination wedding spot?
Consider California as an alternative option. It has beautiful wedding venues too.
Looking to relocate?
Some first cousins choose to relocate permanently to a state where their marriage will be legal.
Review your options and future plans carefully. You may wish to sit down with an attorney to consider all the implications.
Some states in the U.S. will not recognize legal marriages from other states.
Roman Catholic Marriages
Even if close cousins move to another state that allows their civil marriage, they will face separate hurdles if they want a wedding in a Roman Catholic church.
Historically, the Catholic Church hasn’t encouraged 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.
You can read a more detailed explanation here on how first cousins can have a ceremony in a Catholic church.
What about other cousins?
Second cousins (and further out) don’t need to get special permission for a Catholic Church marriage. This is because they are beyond the fourth degree of relationship.
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.
If you’re not sure about whether you are first or second cousins, check out our article that uses diagrams to explain what second cousins are.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some quick answers to common questions.
Does Nevada allow relatives to marry?
Nevada does not allow close relatives to marry.
More distant relatives such as second cousins are allowed to marry in the state.
Can you marry a sibling in Nevada?
Nevada 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 Nevada?
Marriage between second cousins is legal in Nevada.
The codes and laws referenced in this article may not be the most recent version. Nevada 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.