I come from a very large family. My grandparents were all born either before or during the Great Depression and if one thing is true, having kids was the only means of entertainment in rural America before satellite TV became a thing. Having most of your family come from the same small town complicates things a bit too.

Let my story serve as an example.

A few of us cousins used to spend our summers on the family farm. We'd help out with the work as much as possible and start burning up the roads when it was quitting time. It was the first taste of work ethic, responsibility, and freedom for all of us. Naturally, we'd spend most of our evening time hanging out with everyone else our own age.

As the summer would wear on, relationships would develop between us--the seasonal visitors--and the locals that lived in the small SWOK town the entire family comes from.

After six weeks of seeing this one particular girl, she invited me over to have dinner with her family. Mostly just to meet her parents. Nervous as I could be, I walked in the door and introduced myself with a firm and respectable handshake, but her father busted up with this huge belly laugh and yells "You two are cousins!"

A little confused and shell-shocked from the news, I stayed for dinner anyway. Unfortunately, the topic of conversation was family lineage. Turns out we were second cousins but had never met before, but she quickly pointed out that we were far enough apart to have kids.

Red Flag.

Portrait of the bride and groom in a cowboy hat

This similar scenario happened three times over the next two summers in that town.

While it's somewhat embarrassing, I tell you that in order to hop into the topic of kissing cousins and the legality of it in Oklahoma.

For some reason, Oklahoma has a reputation online along the same lines as Arkansas...

  • Going to the family reunion to pick up girls...
  • Great love stories that start at birth...
  • "If she ain't family, she ain't a lady!

You never know how this kind of hilarious hyperbole becomes perceived truth, but the law is pretty specific on what is and isn't allowed between kin folk.

Can you marry your first cousin in Oklahoma?

No. It's illegal and you/y'all won't be given a marriage license to do so.

Can you marry your first cousin-once removed in Oklahoma?

Yes, you can... but the "once removed" seems to confuse people a bit. Your first cousin-once removed is the child of your first cousin. Super creepy, but it's apparently come up enough in the Sooner State history that there's a rule for it.

If I married my first cousin in a state that allows first cousins to marry, will the marriage be legal if we move to Oklahoma?

Yes. While Oklahoma flat bans first-cousin marriage, Okies won't rain on your kissing cousin parade by voiding your marriage.

What states allow cousins to marry?

Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia.

It's odd how cousin-kissing is traditionally thought to be an exclusively Southern states thing, yet few of them are on the list.

Why is he talking about kissing cousins?

My editor has been hounding me to write this for months after I told the story during a work luncheon. While I didn't want to, I've simply run out of topics to write about today. Hope it helps you in finding your unrelated love.

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