It is currently illegal for first cousins to marry in Oklahoma.
First cousins once removed and other more distant relationships are allowed.
Oklahoma has recognized first cousin marriages conducted in other states where the union is legal.
This article reviews the important aspects of cousin marriage within the state.
What Do The Oklahoma Marriage Laws Say About First Cousins?
The Oklahoma marriage laws have a fairly lengthy list of prohibited relationships that get as specific as step marriages.
But you’ll see first cousins right at the end (we’ve bolded the relevant section):
Marriages between ancestors and descendants of any degree, of a stepfather with a stepdaughter, stepmother with stepson, between uncles and nieces, aunts and nephews, except in cases where such relationship is only by marriage, between brothers and sisters of the half as well as the whole blood, and first cousins…Oklahoma marriage laws
You probably understand first cousins. If you’re not exactly clear, check out our article that explains what first cousins are.
What do the terms “half” and “whole blood” mean?
Let’s quickly explain the bit about “half” and “whole blood”. When two siblings share the same parents, they are whole blood relatives i.e. “full siblings”.
When the siblings only share one parent, we call them half-siblings. This is also known as a half blood relationship.
The children of full siblings are first cousins. The children of half siblings are half first cousins.
If that seems confusing, then we have a diagram in this section on half cousins.
Are half first cousins allowed to marry?
It’s not entirely clear. The phrasing doesn’t say “first cousins of the half as well as the whole blood”. It just says “first cousins”.
We suggest that you consult an attorney if you are concerned about this question.
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, Oklahoma has a blanket ban within the state. There are no special exceptions.
Types Of Cousins That Can Get Married In Oklahoma
Relationships that are further out than first cousins are allowed.
For example, marriages between first cousins once removed are permitted.
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.
- first cousins once removed (children of your first cousins)
- second cousins explained (parents are first cousins)
- third cousins explained
- fourth cousins explained
Does Oklahoma Recognize First Cousin Marriages From Other States?
Oklahoma recognizes first cousin marriage from other states (as long as they are legal in those states).
…any marriage of first cousins performed in another state authorizing such marriages, which is otherwise legal, is hereby recognized as valid and binding in this state as of the date of such marriage.Oklahoma marriage laws
This fact has been referenced in cases that challenge the non-recognition of same-sex marriages from out of state.
Does The Oklahoma 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 North Dakota.
We reviewed the application form for a marriage license in Oklahoma 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?
Oklahoma is bordered by Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, and Texas. Two of these states allow first cousins to marry. Check out these articles:
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 Oklahoma as a destination wedding spot?
Consider these other states as alternative options in the region!
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 first cousins and Catholic weddings.
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 the second cousin relationship through diagrams.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some quick answers to common questions.
Does Oklahoma allow relatives to marry?
Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma?
Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma?
Marriage between second cousins is legal in Oklahoma.
The codes and laws referenced in this article may not be the most recent version. Oklahoma 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.