Is Dating Your Cousin Illegal in Wyoming? Here’s What the Law Says

Love can blossom in the most unexpected places, and sometimes, that unexpected place can be a little too close for comfort. Cousin dating, the act of being romantically involved with a first cousin, has been a subject of debate for centuries. Across cultures, there are varying perspectives on the practice. In some communities, it’s a perfectly acceptable tradition, while others consider it taboo. Legally, however, the situation is more straightforward. In the United States, there’s a patchwork of laws governing cousin marriage, with some states allowing it and others strictly prohibiting it.

So, what about Wyoming? Is dating your cousin illegal in the Cowboy State? The answer, in short, is no. However, there are some nuances to consider, and this article will delve deeper into the legalities of cousin dating and marriage in Wyoming, exploring the potential risks, cultural considerations, and alternative paths to finding love.

Cousin Dating Laws in the United States

Before diving into Wyoming’s specific laws, let’s take a broader look at the legal landscape across the United States. Cousin marriage laws vary significantly from state to state. At one end of the spectrum, states like Alabama and Alaska have no restrictions on marrying a first cousin. On the other hand, states like Rhode Island and Kansas explicitly prohibit marriages between first cousins.

The majority of states fall somewhere in between, allowing marriage between first cousins but prohibiting unions between closer relatives like siblings, aunts/uncles, and nieces/nephews. For instance, in New York, first-cousin marriage is legal, while marriages between second cousins are not.

These variations in legislation reflect the complex social and ethical considerations surrounding cousin relationships. Historically, cousin marriage was more common, particularly in isolated communities. However, with advancements in genetics, concerns have emerged about the increased risk of passing on certain genetic disorders in offspring born from such unions.

Wyoming’s Specific Laws

Now, let’s get down to brass tacks and examine Wyoming’s specific laws regarding cousin dating and marriage. The good news for those contemplating a romantic relationship with a first cousin is that Wyoming allows marriage between first cousins. This is enshrined in Title 30, Chapter 3 of the Wyoming Statutes, which outlines the requirements for obtaining a marriage license. There are no provisions within this chapter that restrict marriage based on familial relationships as long as the individuals are first cousins.

However, it’s important to clarify that Wyoming’s law applies specifically to marriage, not necessarily dating. There are no legal repercussions for simply dating a first cousin in the state.

It’s also crucial to note that Wyoming prohibits marriages between closer relatives, including siblings, half-siblings, parents and children, aunts and uncles, and nieces and nephews. These relationships are considered too close for legal marriage due to the increased ethical and genetic concerns.

Risks Associated with Cousin Dating

While Wyoming law permits marriage between first cousins, it’s essential to acknowledge the potential risks associated with such relationships, particularly when considering having children. Offspring born from first-cousin marriages have a slightly higher chance of inheriting recessive genetic disorders.

Normally, each parent contributes one copy of a gene. If both parents carry a copy of a recessive gene for a particular disorder, there’s a 25% chance that their child will inherit both copies and develop the condition. In the case of first-cousin couples, since they share a larger portion of their DNA, the odds of them both carrying the same recessive gene are slightly higher compared to non-related couples.

This doesn’t guarantee that children born from first-cousin marriages will develop genetic problems. However, it’s a factor to

Risks Associated with Cousin Dating

This doesn’t guarantee that children born from first-cousin marriages will develop genetic problems. However, it’s a factor to consider, especially if there’s a family history of certain genetic disorders. Couples contemplating such a relationship may benefit from genetic counseling to assess the potential risks for their offspring.

Cultural and Social Considerations

Beyond legalities and health risks, cousin dating also carries social and cultural baggage. In many societies, it’s considered taboo due to the close familial ties involved. Dating a cousin can raise eyebrows within families and communities, potentially leading to social stigma and disapproval. Individuals considering such a relationship should be prepared to navigate these potential challenges.

Religion can also play a role in shaping views on cousin relationships. While some religions have no specific stance on the matter, others may explicitly prohibit marriage or romantic relationships between close relatives. It’s important for individuals to be mindful of their own religious beliefs and those of their families when making decisions about cousin dating.


In conclusion, Wyoming law permits marriage between first cousins, but there are no legal regulations regarding dating a first cousin. However, it’s crucial to consider the potential health risks associated with offspring born from such relationships, especially if there’s a family history of genetic disorders. Genetic counseling can be a valuable tool in assessing these risks.

Beyond legal and health concerns, cousin dating also presents social and cultural challenges. Be prepared to navigate potential disapproval from family and friends, and consider any religious restrictions that might apply.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to date a cousin is a personal one. Weigh the legal aspects, potential health risks, and social considerations carefully before making a choice. If you have any doubts or concerns, consulting with a genetic counselor and a trusted confidant can provide valuable guidance.

Alternatives for Finding Love

If you’re looking for love and happen to be drawn to a cousin, remember that there are countless ways to find a fulfilling romantic relationship outside of your immediate family circle. Consider expanding your social circle by joining clubs, attending events, or volunteering in your community. Online dating platforms can also be a great way to meet new people who share your interests.

The most important thing is to keep an open mind and be open to possibilities. Love can be found in the most unexpected places, and by venturing outside your comfort zone, you might just discover a connection that’s both fulfilling and free from legal and societal complications.

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MBS Staff
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