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Sheri McMahon, Fargo, Published July 26 2012

Do you check on first cousins?

Marriage by first cousins is legal in some 20 states, but not North Dakota. I checked the Celebrations webpage for The Forum online, and there’s nothing about requiring engaged couples to present a marriage license as proof the union will be legally sanctioned.

So what does The Forum do to make sure it is not publishing announcements of engagements whose culmination will not violate state laws against first cousin marriages? (NDCC 14-03-03(5), “Void Marriages: The following marriages are incestuous and void”; this includes “first cousins of the half as well as the whole blood.”)

I’m sure those readers whose support for current policy is based (they say) on existing state law as a representation of social standards in North Dakota will appreciate this effort, and it will also help ensure that The Forum does not inadvertently publish announcements submitted by one party for the purpose of embarrassing or coercing another.