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When did it become illegal to marry cousins in the United States, and why?

Asked by awaytoolong (36 points ) February 8th, 2007
I live in a West African, predominantly Muslim country where I was surprised to learn it is very common for cousins (even first cousins) to marry. In fact, the last 4 marriages I attended were cousin marriages. This made me wonder where does the prohibition to marry cousins, and other family members for that matter, come from in the US? Is it religiously based (If so, where?)? Or culturally based originating somewhere in Western Europe or elsewhere?

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