Illinois has no shortage of weird laws, and that extends to matrimony.

Most of us don't want to marry our cousins, for a lot of very valid reasons, the main one of which being: ick. 

But they say the heart wants what it wants and if yours wants to marry your cousin, there's a specific way that you can in Illinois. My birthplace (the South) still gets a lot of crap for the stereotype that everyone marries their family members, but most states in the country forbid marrying your first cousins (because again: ick).

Except for Illinois.

You Can Marry Family In Illinois


The obvious ick aside, we just finished the holiday season. We were around family enough, so why would you want to marry any of your family members and spend more time around them? I think the holly jolly heck not.

Illinois does forbid most in-family marriages, like uncles and nieces can't marry each other, aunts and nephews can't either, that kind of thing. Siblings (even adopted siblings) can't marry each other or an "ancestor and a descendent" can't marry either.

But in one of two situations, you can marry your first cousin in Illinois. 

That's allowed if: 

  • both cousins are 50 or older
  • they can't have kids

Specifically, the sterility clause in Illinois Statute 750 ILCS 5/212 is worded as:

the party to the proposed marriage is permanently and irreversibly sterile

Listen, I get that dating nowadays sucks, but there's absolutely no reason you should have to stoop so weirdly low to marry your literal blood relative. 

Get some pets, embrace the single life, but don't get this bonkers.

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