It is currently legal for first cousins to marry in Vermont.
The state laws prohibit closer relationships such as brothers and sisters.
Couples must apply for a marriage license, which is valid in any county in the state. Either or both cousins can be non-resident.
This article looks at what you need to know about first cousin marriages in Vermont.
Types Of Cousins That Can Get Married In Vermont
All types of cousins can get married in Vermont, including:
- first cousins (share common grandparents)
- half first cousins (first cousins through a half-sibling of your parent)
- first cousins once removed (children of your first cousins)
- second, third and fourth cousins (and further out)
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 Vermont.
If you’re unsure about what this relationship means, check out our article that looks in-depth at relationship aspects of half-siblings.
What You Should Know About First Cousin Marriages In Vermont
Vermont requires that you apply for a marriage license from the office of a town or city clerk.
You can download the form in advance and complete some of the details.
However, you will need to sign it in the presence of an official at a clerk’s office.
Are you a resident?
Neither couple has to be a resident in Vermont. But be aware that some other states in the U.S. don’t recognize your marriage if they prohibit first cousin unions.
If one of the couple is a resident, you should apply for the license in that county. If neither is a resident, then you can apply in any county.
Your marriage license is valid across the state i.e. you don’t have to marry in the county where you got your license.
Does the Vermont application form ask if you’re related?
Some states have a section in their forms where you must state a relationship e.g. first cousin.
You can see an example in our article on first cousin marriage in Montana.
We reviewed the application form available online from the Vermont Department of Health in 2022. It does not ask for this information.
Be prepared for the possibility that a clerk may ask you whether you are related before you complete the application process.
Don’t worry! Just explain that you are first cousins (or further out).
What Relationships Can’t Get Married In The State?
The Vermont marriage laws are some of the easiest to read that I’ve seen.
No person shall marry his or her parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sibling, sibling’s child, or parent’s sibling.Vermont legislature
Why first cousins are legal
You’ve probably noticed that first cousins aren’t included in this shortlist of prohibited relationships.
The Vermont laws don’t say explicitly that first cousins can marry. They simply don’t mention the relationship in their restrictions.
Do Cousins Travel To Vermont To Get Married?
Vermont shares a border with three states: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York.
Only New Hampshire of these states does not allow first cousin marriage.
You will sometimes hear griping from legislators in states that share borders with neighbors prohibiting cousin marriages.
They complain that hordes of out-of-state cousins descend upon their state to get legally married.
I don’t find any such concerns expressed in Vermont. That may be because residents in neighboring states have plenty of options – such as New York.
If you are thinking of traveling to get married, be sure to check the laws of the state you are resident within. Some do not recognize first cousin marriages conducted elsewhere. You can see more details on this in our general article on first cousins marrying in the USA.
Roman Catholic Marriages
If you want to celebrate your Vermont 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.
Here’s a link to our detailed review of how the Catholic Church deals with first cousin marriages.
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 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. The diagrams should make things clear.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some quick answers to common questions.
Does Vermont allow relatives to marry?
Vermont 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 Vermont?
Vermont 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 Vermont?
Marriage between second cousins is legal in Vermont.
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. Vermont may have more current or accurate information.
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