Whitmer signs bills making child marriage illegal, unmarried cohabitation legal – ABC 13

Whitmer signs overdue bills making child marriage illegal, unmarried cohabitation legal

Whitmer signs bills making child marriage illegal, unmarried cohabitation legal

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan’s governor has signed bills effectively outlawing child marriage and repealing a law banning cohabitation of unmarried couples.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed eight bills Tuesday that bans the marriage of individuals under the age of 18, repeals the law making cohabitation of unmarried people illegal and changes several other laws related to child marriage.

The eight-bill package includes:

  • Senate Bill 209 – Sets the minimum age to marry in Michigan to 18 years old.
  • Senate Bill 213 – Amends Act 293 of 1968, Sec 722.4 to remove emancipation status of children under the age of 18 who are validly married.
  • Senate Bill 216 – Stops parents from authorizing marriage of children under the age of 18.
  • Senate Bill 212 – Stops legal guardians from authorizing marriage of children under the age of 18.
  • Senate Bill 56 – Amends Act 328 of 1931 to remove law making unmarried co-habitation a crime.
  • House Bill 4299 – Removes language from Act 125 of 2001 which included marriage licenses as proof of child emancipation.
  • House Bill 4300 – Allows for parents and guardians of minors were married to adults in the past to apply for annulment of the marriage.
  • House Bill 4202 – Removes a marital rape loophole that prevented prosecution of an individual who engages in criminal sexual conduct with their mentally incapacitated spouse.

Almost all of the bills passed with an overwhelming majority of bipartisan support, with only a few house GOP members voting no.

Senate Bill 56 was the only contested bill, with nine senate members voting no and 26 members of the house in opposition.

The remainder of the bills focused on child marriage only saw nay votes from five GOP members in the state house. Steve Cara of District 36, Matt Maddock of District 51, Angela Rigas of District 79, Josh Schriver of District 66 and Neil Friske of District 107 all voted no to those seven bills.

West Michigan Representative Angela Rigas, defended her opinion in an article on her personal website arguing that the government should not interfere with an individual’s decision to get married.

Whitmer signed all of the bills Tuesday, and they take effect immediately.

Michigan’s ban on child marriage follows on the heels of Connecticut’s decision to outlaw the practice in June.

According to Unchained at Last, a survivor-led nonprofit organization dedicated to ending forced and child marriage, Michigan is the 10th state in the United States to completely ban the practice of child marriage.

A study performed by the non-profit shows that there were nearly 300,000 minors married between 2000 and 2018, with 5,259 in Michigan.

The youngest age of a marriage on record during that time period was 10, with the vast majority of child marriages (96%) including at least one individual being 16 or 17.

Prior to this legislation being passed, Michigan had no minimum age for marriage. Minors aged 16-17 required parental consent and minors aged under 16 required parental and judicial consent.

Continue Reading.