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Wyoming raises minimum age to marry to 18 with some exceptions

Published Thursday, Mar. 2nd, 2023

Important update to Wyoming marriage age requirements 



As of last week, the minimum age to marry in Wyoming is 18 years old, with some exceptions for 16 and 17 year olds. Children under the age of 16 can no longer get married under any circumstances. 


The new law, outlined in House Bill 7, was signed by Gov. Mark Gordon on last Wednesday and became effective immediately. 


Under the new provisions, the legal age to consent to marriage is 18 years old. 16 and 17 year olds who wish to marry can apply for a license if they’re legally emancipated, or with the consent of their legal guardian and approval from a judge. There are no conditions in which someone under the age of 16 can marry in the state. 


Previously, the age of consent to marry in Wyoming was 16 years old, and children of any age could marry with the permission of a guardian and judge’s approval. 


Effective immediately: 


§ 20-1-102. Minimum marriageable age; exception; parental consent.


(a) At the time of marriage the parties shall be at least eighteen (18) years of age except as otherwise provided. No person shall marry who is under the age of sixteen (16) years.


(b) All marriages involving a person sixteen (16) or seventeen (17) years of age are prohibited and voidable, unless before contracting the marriage a judge of a court of record in Wyoming approves the marriage and authorizes the county clerk to issue a license therefor. All marriages involving a person under sixteen (16) years of age are void.


(c) When either party is sixteen (16) or seventeen (17) years of age, no license shall be granted without the verbal consent, if present, and written consent, if absent, of the father, mother, guardian or person having the care and control of the person sixteen (16) or seventeen (17) years of age. Written consent shall be proved by the testimony of at least one (1) competent witness.


(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, parties may marry without the authorization of a judge of a court of record or the consent of any other person if both of the parties are not less than sixteen (16) years of age and if every party that is under eighteen (18) years of age meets the requirements for the right to contract under W.S. 14-1-102 or has received a declaration of emancipation pursuant to W.S. 14-1-203.


See all Wyoming Marriage Laws 



This law has been years in the making, after facing consistent resistance from Republican lawmakers in the state. Similar legislation was introduced and rejected in 2019, for including no exceptions for parties under the age of 18 (House Bill 60). In 2020 an updated bill was introduced with an exception for legally emancipated minors, but it also failed to pass (House Bill 67). 


The success of House Bill 7 (HB0007) reflects the growing national concern over the prevalence and negative impacts of child marriage: In the past two years, three states have banned the marriage of minors without exception, including New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. And at least nine other states are considering similar legislation in 2023, including Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia. The bills in these states would either limit or fully prohibit underage marriage.



How common is child marriage? One advocacy group estimates that nearly 300,000 children were legally married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2018, and that “Most were girls wed to adult men an average of four years older” (via Unchained At Last). In Wyoming,  approximately 20 child marriages take place each year, sometimes with very large age differences (via Newsweek).



Read the full text of HB0007 here.


See all Wyoming Marriage Laws here. 



Want to know the minimum age to marry in your state?

Read How Old Do You Have To Be To Get Married In Each State?




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Read How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Wyoming


Conviértete en un Oficiante de Bodas en Wyoming

Friends and family members can perform legal weddings in Wyoming if they've been ordained online. Ordination with American Marriage Ministries is inclusive, free, easy, and fast. Click the link below to get started and learn how to officiate weddings today. 






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Close up of a couple holding hands during an outdoor rural wedding ceremony

A step-by-step guide to help you plan a wedding and get married in Wyoming - including how to find a wedding officiant, how to choose a wedding venue, and how to apply for a Wyoming marriage license. Read the full article. 



Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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