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Michigan lawmakers consider a ban on child marriage

Published Thursday, May. 11th, 2023

Photo (cropped) : Davidshane0

Will Michigan outlaw the marriage of minors in 2023?



Lawmakers in the Michigan House of Representatives are considering legislation that would make it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to marry in the state, without exception. 


  • Read the full text of the bill here: HB4293


Currently, children who are 16 or 17 years old can marry in Michigan with the consent of one parent or guardian (§ 551.103). Children under the age of 16 are generally unable to marry, but can sometimes marry with special permission from a probate judge (§ 551.51).  



If passed into law, House Bill 4293 (and its supporting bills, HB4295; HB4296; HB4297) would eliminate the exceptions for children 17 and under, and require that all individuals be at least 18 years old to enter into a marriage contract.


This legislation was introduced by Representative Kara Hope in March, and is being discussed by a House panel this week.


Similar bills have been introduced in several other states this year, reflecting an increase in concern over the potential harms of underage marriage. Some states have chosen to fully the ban the marriage of minors, including  New YorkRhode IslandMassachusetts, and Vermont. Others have raised the age requirement to marry, or increased protections for minors who marry, including MarylandWyoming, and West Virginia. 
How common is child marriage? An advocacy group called Unchained At Last 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." According to an article published in Bridge Michigan, “Between 2000 and 2021, over 5,400 children – some as young at 14-years-old – have been married in Michigan.”





Stay up to date on marriage laws in your state


AMM works hard to keep our ministers informed of important changes to the marriage laws in their states and around the country, to ensure that they have the information they need to officiate weddings and serve their communities well. 


To stay informed on what’s new in your state, visit the AMM News Page on the blog and subscribe to AMM’s Monthly Newsletter: 






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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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