Stay up to date with the latest wedding ceremony trends, script writing inspiration, tips and advice for first-time officiants, and news that matters to couples and wedding ministers.

Washington State Just Banned Child Marriage

Published Tuesday, Mar. 12th, 2024

Two gold wedding rings sit on a table in the foreground, in the background a man signs a document, stock image
Cover photo: Roman Motizov/ Adobe Stock

Washington is the latest state to ban the marriage of minors



Starting June 2024, you’ll have to be at least 18 years old to apply for a marriage license in Washington State. 


Governor Jay Inslee signed the age change into law last week, making Washington one of nearly a dozen states to ban or limit child marriage in recent years. 


Previously, 17 year-old minors could marry in the state if they had written permission from a parent or guardian. In rare cases, children under the age of 17 could marry with special permission from a superior court judge, if the court deemed a marriage necessary. Both of these exceptions have been repealed, and will no longer apply.



Photo of Gov. Inslee sitting at a table holding a pen in front of a pile of documents, a group of legislators stand behind him, including Rep. Monica Stonier who sponsored the bill to eliminate child marriage. Everyone is smiling.

Photo via Washington State House Democrats

Above: Gov. Inslee signs House Bill 1455 into law on Thursday, March 7th, 2024, in the company of legislators, including Rep. Monica Stonier (pictured here to the right of Gov. Inslee). 



The updated law goes into effect on June 6th, 2024. See the full text of the passed bill here: Washington House Bill 1455 Eliminating Child Marriage (WA HB1455)


In keeping with previous versions of the revised statutes, anyone who violates the law (by knowingly using or issuing a marriage license to a minor) can be charged with a class C felony and fined up to $1000. 



This legislation was sponsored by Representative Monica Stonier, and co-sponsored by Representatives Liz Berry; Darya Farivar; Skyler Rude; and others. 


Read our previous coverage of the legislation here: 
Washington State is One Step Closer to Child Marriage Ban in 2024


Similar legislation has been considered in a handful of other states this year, including Hawaii, Missouri, and California. 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. 



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


This change does not impact AMM Ministers who officiate weddings in Washington State. 
The new law requires all applicants for a marriage license to be at least 18 years old. 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. 





You might also like: 



Aerial view of downtown Seattle, showing tall buildings and the Space Needle

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.

How To Officiate By State

Will You Marry Us? Gift Package

Who Will Officiate Your Wedding?

Choose Your Officiant with our "Will You Marry Us?" Gift Package.

Signature Wedding Officiant Package

Signature Wedding Officiant Package

Our premiere package contains everyting you need to officiate like a pro.

The Book of Wedding Vows and Ceremonies

The Book of Wedding Vows and Ceremonies

It's finally here! Timeless scripts and heartfelt vow inspiration to bring life to your ceremony.

Professional Wedding Officiant Certification Course

Learn from the Pros to Officiate with Confidence!

Wedding Officiant Training

Wedding Officiant Training

Everything you need to know to officiate.

Read our sample wedding ceremony scripts online

Sample Wedding Ceremony Scripts

Need inspiration? Check out our free ceremony scripts!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter!


Become a Wedding Officiant with Our Free Online Ordination!