Marriages to Relatives
In Texas, a person is not supposed to marry a brother or sister, an ancestor or descendant, an aunt or
uncle, a niece or nephew, a first cousin, or a present or former step-child. This is accomplished by requiring
an application form for marriage license in which the applicants must swear that they are not related within
the prohibited degree of consanguinity or affinity.
False swearing to this part of the application is a Class A
However, falsity in this part of the application does not render the marriage void.
between first cousins is omitted from the list of void marriages contained in Family Code Section 6.201.
Thus, a marriage between first cousins is not supposed to occur in Texas, but such a marriage is not void.
However, the Texas Penal Code makes sexual relations between first cousins a third degree felony.
constitutionality of these strictures is in doubt. Marriage between first cousins is permitted in Alabama, Alaska,
California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts,
New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, and
Virginia. Some states allow first cousins to marry only under certain circumstances: Arizona, if both are 65
or older, or one is unable to reproduce; in Illinois, if both are 50 or older, or one is unable to reproduce; in
Indiana, if both are at least 65; in Maine, if the couple obtains a physician’s certificate of genetic counseling;
in Utah, if both persons are 65 or older, or if both are 55 or older and one is unable to reproduce; Wisconsin,
if the woman is 55 or older, or one is unable to reproduce.
Texas law does not prohibit recognition of
marriages between first cousins that were valid where contracted.
Under Age Marriage
In Texas, ordinarily a person must be 18
years of age or older, in order to marry.
However, a person as young as 16 years
can marry with parental consent.
court can authorize a minor to enter into
If persons divorcing in Texas
were married in a place that permitted
marriage at a younger age, will a Texas court
recognize the validity of that marriage?
Gender Identity Issues
Gender identity issues are making
their way into the cultural and legal
consciousness in America. The American
notes: “The area
of sex and gender is highly controversial
and has led to a proliferation of terms
whose meanings vary over time and within
and between disciplines.”
An example is
the phrase “sexual preference” versus the
phrase “sexual orientation.” The former
connotes a subjective choice while the latter connotes a genetic or biological condition.
Psychological Association has distinct definitions for sex,
and sexual orientation.
The American Psychiatric Association defines
as “the initial assignment as male or
female. This occurs usually at birth, and, thereby, yields the ‘natal gender.’” “
an official (and usually legal) change of gender.”
The DSM-5 uses the term “posttransition” when “[t]he
individual has transitioned to full-time living in the desired gender (with or without legalization of gender
Texas law does