Comparing Same-Sex Marriage To Marrying Cousins? Just The Start

You may have seen two maps circling the web over the past few weeks (for example, at Queerty or Gothamist). Created, it appears, by The New York Times (though I can’t find an article in their archives), the maps are a compelling point in the debate over same-sex marriage. How is it that states that are perfectly comfortable with allowing first cousins to get hitched throw down the gauntlet over the same-sex variety?

There is another major comparison to draw. First, though, our (larger) versions of the initial maps (including some updated information).

Data from Wikipedia.

Data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The difference is stark – exactly why the comparison is going viral. Let’s add another comparison to the mix:

Data from Wikipedia.

But here is the real killer.

Data from

That’s right – in nearly every state in the Union, it’s perfectly okay for children as young as 15 to get married. In New Hampshire, you can be 13; South Carolina, 14, only requiring parental consent. Not a single state requires that everyone getting married be 18, without exception. In Florida, not only can minors wed, but minors who have been married before don’t need their parents’ permission.

Many of these states, coincidentally, allow people below the minimum age to get married with certain qualifications met, usually getting permission from the court. In other words, the state gets to decide if children barely in their teens get married or not. The usual cause for such a request, of course, is if a teen gets pregnant.

If you want a larger graphic including all four graphs, you can download it here.

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