It is currently illegal for first cousins to marry in Oregon.
First cousins once removed and other more distant relationships are allowed.
Half first cousins are also not permitted to marry in the state.
This article reviews the important aspects of cousin marriage within the Beaver State.
What Do The Oregon Marriage Laws Say About First Cousins?
The Oregon marriage laws have a short clause about marriage between cousins.
Here is the relevant section:
When the parties thereto are first cousins or any nearer of kin to each other, whether of the whole or half blood, whether by blood or adoption, computing by the rules of the civil law, except that when the parties are first cousins by adoption only, the marriage is not prohibited or void.Oregon marriage laws
Let’s break this down so that it’s clearer.
Or any nearer of kin
By “any nearer of kin”, the law is saying that first cousins and any closer relationship are not permitted to marry.
But this also means that first cousins once removed are indeed allowed to marry.
The child of your first cousin is your first cousin once removed. This is a more distant relationship than first cousin.
If that’s not clear, we’ve got some diagrams and examples in our article on first cousin once removed.
What do the terms “half” and “whole blood” mean?
Let’s quickly explain the bit about “whole or half blood”.
When two siblings share the same parents, they are whole blood relatives i.e. “full siblings”. The children of full siblings are whole blood first cousins.
When the siblings only share one parent, we call them half-siblings. This is also known as a half blood relationship.
The children of half siblings are half first cousins. Or in these legal terms, they are first cousins of half blood.
If the relationship is still confusing, we have a diagram that draws out a half first cousin example.
The law is saying that first cousins through adoption are allowed to marry.
But closer relationships, such as siblings through adoption, are not allowed to marry.
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, Oregon has a blanket ban within the state. There are no special exceptions.
Types Of Cousins That Can Get Married In Oregon
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 Oregon 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 whether first cousins can marry in North Dakota.
We reviewed the application form for a marriage license from Multnomah 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?
Oregon is bordered by California, Idaho, Nevada, and Washington. 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 Oregon as a destination wedding spot?
Consider California as an alternative option! There are many beautiful venues in the state.
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 marrry in a Catholic ceremony.
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 has diagrams and examples of what second cousins are.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some quick answers to common questions.
Does Oregon allow relatives to marry?
Oregon 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 Oregon?
Oregon 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 Oregon?
Marriage between second cousins is legal in Oregon.
The codes and laws referenced in this article may not be the most recent version. Oregon 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.