It’s About Time: Michigan Ban on Childhood Marriage Signed into Law
It's been a long time coming, but Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed legislation that bans childhood marriage in Michigan and provides other protection for minors.
Until earlier this year, childhood marriage was legal under Michigan Law. Children who were 16 or 17 years of age could get married with the written consent of a parent or legal guardian. Children under 16 were able to marry with written parental consent and with permission from a judge who was willing to sign off on the marriage.
Additional Protection for Minors
House Bill 4294, sponsored by Rep. Kara Hope of Lansing establishes 18 as the minimum age of consent for marriage.
House Bill 4295, sponsored by Rep. Alabas Farhat of Dearborn prohibits secret child marriages in cases where marriage records are sealed from the public.
House Bill 4296, sponsored by Rep. Betsy Coffia of Traverse City provides protection to minors who are already married, ensuring that they don't lose spousal benefits under Michigan's new law.
Bills Protect Young Women from Predators
As Governor Gretchen signed the new bills into law this week, she noted to Up North Live that protecting young women from predators is a top priority.
"Today’s bipartisan bills will build on our efforts to protect young people, especially young women, from abuse,” Whitmer said. "as governor, I am proud to sign legislation to strengthen protections for children and survivors into law."
Michigan is only the 10th state in the US to put a ban on childhood marriage, according to Unchained at Last, a nonprofit that works to end childhood marriage in the US.