Can First Cousins Marry In New Hampshire? (Explained)

It is currently illegal for first cousins to marry in New Hampshire.

First cousins once removed and other more distant relationships are allowed.

New Hampshire does not recognize first cousin marriages conducted in other states where the union is legal.

This article reviews the important aspects of cousin marriage within the Granite State.

What Do The New Hampshire Marriage Laws Say About First Cousins?

The New Hampshire marriage laws have possibly the longest list of prohibited relationships that we’ve seen when researching the different states.

See for yourself:

No person shall marry his or her father, mother, father’s brother, father’s sister, mother’s brother, mother’s sister, son, daughter, brother, sister, son’s son, son’s daughter, daughter’s son, daughter’s daughter, brother’s son, brother’s daughter, sister’s son, sister’s daughter, father’s brother’s son, father’s brother’s daughter, mother’s brother’s son, mother’s brother’s daughter, father’s sister’s son, father’s sister’s daughter, mother’s sister’s son, or mother’s sister’s daughter

New Hampshire marriage laws

Whew, that’s a bit of a mouthful. I’ve bolded the relevant parts. They really spell it out!

Basically, you can’t marry your first cousin – they’ve just used the eight possible combinations to make that clear!

Are there any exceptions to the laws?

Some other states generally don’t allow first cousin marriage but have some allowances based on age or other criteria.

In contrast, New Hampshire has a blanket ban within the state. There are no special exceptions.

Have first cousin marriages always been illegal?

New Hampshire brought in laws against first cousin marriage back in 1869. They’ve been on the statute books ever since.

Marrying in New Hampshire

Types Of Cousins That Can Get Married In New Hampshire

Relationships that are further out than first cousins are allowed.

This means that first cousins once removed can marry in the state. An example would be your father’s brother’s son’s son.

It’s just as well. That marriage law would get very long indeed when trying to cram in all the possibilities.

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 New Hampshire Recognize First Cousin Marriages From Other States

Some states where first cousin marriage is illegal will recognize such marriages if they were conducted legally outside the state.

However, New Hampshire does not recognize out-of-state marriages if they are illegal under the state’s own laws.

Marriages legally contracted outside the state of New Hampshire which would be prohibited under [NH laws] if contracted in New Hampshire shall not be legally recognized in this state.

New Hampshire marriage laws

Do Nearby States Allow First Cousins To Marry?

New Hampshire is bordered by Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont. Two of these three states allow first cousins to marry. Check out these articles:

New Hampshire Neighbors

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 New Hampshire as a destination wedding spot?

Consider these other states as alternative options in the region! They both have gorgeous wedding venues.

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 Catholic marriage.

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.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some quick answers to common questions.

Does New Hampshire allow relatives to marry?

New Hampshire 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 New Hampshire?

New Hampshire 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 New Hampshire?

Marriage between second cousins is legal in New Hampshire.


The codes and laws referenced in this article may not be the most recent version. New Hampshire 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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