New laws ban child marriage in Michigan

New laws signed by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday ban child marriage in the state.

"Keeping Michiganders – especially young women – safe and healthy is a top priority, and these bills will take long overdue steps to protect individuals from abuse," Whitmer said. 

The child marriage bills signed into law include one that prevents people younger than 18 from getting married and voids any marriage entered into by someone under 18.

Parents will no longer be able to consent to their children getting married under 18. 

Another bill allows parents or guardians to apply for an annulment of a marriage if one of the parties was under the age of legal consent even if they had freely cohabited as spouses after reaching the legal age of consent. 

"Hearing from survivors of child marriage about what they’ve been through has been devastating and heartbreaking," said Rep. Jenn Hill (D-Marquette). "For a long time, the government has needed to step in and end this archaic practice to protect the children of our state. I’m encouraged — and relieved — that this legislation has finally become law." 

The package of bills also includes changes to the laws that prevent a person from being convicted of criminal sexual conduct solely because their legal spouse is mentally incapacitated.

"Despite this law being antiquated, it has very modern implications for those seeking justice," said Rep. Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia), who sponsored the bill about CSC convictions. "After nearly four years of introducing and advocating for the closure of this egregious loophole, I’m grateful that after today, this law will be repealed once and for all." 

A bill signed also removes a law that was on the books, though seldom enforced, that prohibited a man and woman who are not married to each other from living together.