Did you know that in some states, you can legally marry your first cousin? Yeah, I guess it has come up enough times that laws need to be put in place.

The answer in many states is a simple no. But, in the Cheese State, there actually if you meet a few rules, it can be legal to marry your first cousin.

Wisconsin road sign
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

However, most of those kissing cousins searching for forbidden love won't meet the rules.

Under Wisconsin Legislature 765.03 it lists persons who shall not marry:

No marriage shall be contracted while either of the parties has a husband or wife living, nor between persons who are nearer of kin than 2nd cousins except that marriage may be contracted between first cousins where the female has attained the age of 55 years or where either party, at the time of application for a marriage license, submits an affidavit signed by a physician stating that either party is permanently sterile. Relationship under this section shall be computed by the rule of the civil law, whether the parties to the marriage are of the half or of the whole blood. A marriage may not be contracted if either party has such want of understanding as renders him or her incapable of assenting to marriage.

Photo by Mariano Rivas on Unsplash
Photo by Mariano Rivas on Unsplash

Simple version - The cousins cannot reproduce

The law doesn't want first cousins to have offspring. Likely because of the increased risk of recessive genetic disorders. The female must be 55 years older, or either party must provide medical proof that they are sterile.

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So, legally the loophole would be there if first-cousins agreed to medically sterilize themselves?

Not addressed in the law - LGBTQ+ Couples

The law clearly says husband and wife. So what does this mean for first-cousin LGBTQ partners who cannot reproduce children? I haven't found any evidence of that coming up, but the question has actually been asked and written about in an opinion piece in nearby Illinois.

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