Legislation banning child marriage heads to governor
LANSING, Mich., Sept. 6, 2023 — On their first day in session after the summer in-district work period, House Democrats gave final passage to three bills that, with their companions already signed into law, outlaw child marriage in Michigan. The bills now head to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk; a fourth will return to the Senate.
“I’m so proud that years of work are finally coming to fruition. These bills are long overdue, and seeing the last of them get to the finish line is truly satisfying,” said state Rep. Kara Hope (D-Holt), sponsor of House Bill 4294 and one of the main drivers of the package. “Perpetrators of abuse, and those who cover it up, have gotten away with those actions for far too long. As we pass these bills, we can say, ‘No more.’”
“The practice of child marriage is cruel and heinous, and it’s time for us to outlaw that practice,” said state Rep. Alabas Farhat (D-Dearborn), sponsor of HB 4295. “Children can have their lives ruined by abusive adults. We have an obligation to protect the children in our state, and that’s exactly what this legislation does.”
“The vast majority of child marriages are between underage girls and adult men, and I think that speaks to the true nature of these ‘arrangements,’” said state Rep. Betsy Coffia (D-Traverse City), sponsor of HB 4296. “It is child abuse, plain and simple, and I’m proud to sponsor and vote in favor of these bills to ban this practice in Michigan.”
“As a new father, I cannot imagine forcing or even allowing my daughter to get married before she turns 18. Marriage, beyond being a legally binding contract, is a responsibility that is designed for two consenting adults,” said state Rep. Joey Andrews (D-St. Joseph), sponsor of HB 4302. “These bills are creating a better world for our children — one where they can set their own course and realize their potential.”