Hello, CC. I've been in a relationship with my second cousin (or so that's how I was told we're related.) for almost two years now. While we're still young (between 18-25 years old), this is definitely the most loving, healthy, balanced and caring relationship I've ever been in and she can say the same for herself (I'm a female and she's a MtF transgender. She's on estrogen and testosterone blockers and is infertile as a result). I believe with all my heart that she's the person I was meant to be with. Growing up, we were always told we were second cousins by our family members and when things started getting romantic, we were very relieved that second cousin marriages were legal in every state in the U.S, where we reside. We've both always loved the idea of getting married and having families of our own and when our relationship started to get a little bit more serious, we decided to do our own "homework" so to speak, just to make sure we had the legalities figured out.
Well, apparently, we didn't. Apparently your parent's cousin is your first-cousin-once-removed (1stCOR), not your second cousin. Which is fine, because 1stCOR marriages are legal in every state but 6. We'd statistically be in the clear, right? Wrong. Of course we had to reside in one of those 6 states (Washington). Not to mention, we can't even get married in a state where it's legal and then come back, as the state will consider the marriage void. Now, it's legal for us to be in a sexual/cohabiting relationship. Just no marriage. When I first read that, I first got angry and defensive. How the heck would the state even know? We don't do blood tests or anything so how would they even know? Then I found out when you apply for a marriage license both parties have to record their parent's first and last names on the application. Now, neither of our parents have the same last name, but my girlfriend's mom is my maternal grandmother's sister. They both have the same maiden names. Then my mind started racing and I got anxious, thinking "during the three day waiting period the state must do a background check where they check your family tree to make sure you're not related so if we apply for a marriage license we're gonna get denied and that'll be a whole other level of embarrassment and I can't deal with that."
So now I'm in bed at almost midnight being drinking tea. I'm no longer angry and defensive, and I somewhat understand why the law is in place. It still just sucks and I'm super sad. I just want to marry my best friend. I wish I didn't look it up because at least I could claim ignorance, blame it on the terminology used by my family my entire life. I don't know why I'm posting this. I guess to just... get it out? Since I can't talk to my family about it (they know of the relationship but 95% of them are very unsupportive).