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Washington State is One Step Closer to Child Marriage Ban in 2024

Published Monday, Jan. 15th, 2024

Close up of a young couple hands,  holding hands outdoors.
Photo: satura_ / Adobe Stock

Earlier this month, members of the Washington State House of Representatives voted unanimously in favor of eliminating child marriage in the state. The legislation is now under review in the Senate, and is expected to pass. 


This legislation, HB1455, was previously considered in 2023, and passed the House on the first day of the new 2024 session.


If it becomes law, all parties to marriage in Washington must be at least 18 years old, without exception. 


Currently, children who are 17 years old can marry in the state if they have parental and judicial approval, and the marriage is deemed necessary.





Washington is one of many U.S. states to reconsider the age of consent to marry in recent years. Child marriage was banned most recently in Michigan, in September of 2023, making it the tenth state to do so. Other states to raise their marriage age to 18 include Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. 


Some states have modified their marriage laws to protect the welfare of minors without passing full bans, 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




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


This change will not impact AMM Ministers who officiate weddings in Washington. 
If passed, the bill would eliminate the conditions in which a 17 year old minor can apply for a marriage license in Washington. It is a couple's responsibility to apply for their marriage license, and marriage licenses are issued by a county clerk who 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 and confirm their identity. Learn more by clicking the link below. 




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Aerial view of downtown Seattle and Puget Sound

Planning a Washington wedding? Need a Washington State marriage license? This short guide will help! Read the full article here. 



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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