Michigan Legislature votes to ban child marriage

Michigan Capitol
Posted at 6:50 AM, Jun 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-22 14:06:41-04

The Michigan legislature has passed bills that would ban child marriage in the state.

On Wednesday, the Michigan House of Representatives passed their package of bills that bans child marriage, with five Republicans voting against the bills.

The bills, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Kara Hope, had wide support in the House – passed with a vote of 104-5. The lawmakers who voted against the bills are Rep. Steve Carra, Rep. Neil Friske, Rep. Matt Maddock, Rep. Angela Rigas and Rep. Josh Schriver.

On Thursday, the State Senate passed their bill package aiming to end child marriage. The Senate and House will still have to approve of the other's bill package before they head to the governor's desk.

If passed, no one under the age of 18 would be able to get married.

Under current Michigan law, children under the age of 16 can get married with written consent from a parent or guardian and permission from a judge, and 16- and 17-year-olds can get married with written consent of a parent or legal guardian.

"We’re giving get out of jail free cards to child rapists," that's the message child marriage survivor Fraidy Reese shared with the Senate Judicial Committee last year.

Reese founded the national organization Unchained At Last. She says more than 5,400 children — under 18 — have married in Michigan since 2000.

"The youngest person in the last 20 years to marry in this state was a 14-year-old child. Under our state laws, when that marriage was consummated, that was then statutory rape," said Courtney Kosnik.