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Michigan bans child marriage, raises legal age to marry to 18

Published Thursday, Sep. 21st, 2023

Photo: Alex Brisbey / Unsplash

Age of consent to marry in Michigan raised to 18 years old, effective immediately


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AMM Audio Articles · Michigan bans child marriage, raises legal age to marry to 18



Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed several pieces of legislation this week that ban the marriage of minors in Michigan. The legal age of consent to marry in the state is now 18 years old, without exceptions, effective immediately.


Previously, children as young as 16 could marry in Michigan if they had the permission of at least one of their parents or a legal guardian. 


"Keeping Michiganders safe and healthy is one of my top priorities, and today's bipartisan bills will build on our efforts to protect young people—especially young women—from abuse," Gov. Whitmer said of the legislation. (via CBS Detroit)


She added, "As a county prosecutor, I went after those who used their power to prey on young people, and as governor, I am proud to sign legislation to strengthen protections for children and survivors into law. Together, we can make Michigan a safe, welcoming state where you can grow up and pursue your potential." (via CBS Detroit)


The legislation signed by Gov. Whitmer included a series of bills that eliminate provisions for the marriage of minors: HB4294; HB4295; HB4296; SB0212; and SB0209. These bills modify several of the state’s marriage laws, including MCL § 551.103; § 551.201; § 551.251; § 551.51; and others. 



Michigan is now the 10th state to fully ban the marriage of minors. Connecticut became the 9th state to ban child marriages in June of this year, joining Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont in outlawing the practice completely. Two U.S. territories – American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands – prohibit the marriage of minors, as well, and parties must be at least 21 years old to marry in Puerto Rico. 


Several other states have also modified their marriage laws to protect the welfare of minors in the past couple years, including West Virginia and Wyoming, where age requirements were raised to 16 years old (previously there was no minimum age in either state).



Related: Connecticut becomes 9th state to ban child marriage, raises age to marry to 18 without exceptions


Get the full scoop in this article by Sara Powers for CBS Detroit. 


Read AMM’s previous coverage on this topic: 




What do AMM Ministers need to know about this changing law? 


This change will not impact AMM Ministers who officiate weddings in Michigan, or how they officiate weddings there. 
The new laws raise the age requirement to apply for a marriage license in Michigan. It is a couple's responsibility to apply for their marriage license. MI marriage licenses are issued by a county clerk in the town where either applicant lives, or in the county where the marriage will take place (for non-residents). This clerk will ask each applicant for proof of their age and any other necessary documents.

Officiants should always check in with a couple to ensure they’ve applied for, or will apply for, a marriage license before the wedding date. On the day of the wedding, Officiants should ask the couple to present their marriage license before they perform the marriage ceremony. Learn more by clicking the link below. 



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Get Ordained Online & Officiate Weddings! 
Read How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Michigan


Conviértete en un Oficiante de Bodas en Michigan


Friends and family members can perform legal weddings in Michigan 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. 





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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