Child marriage ban back before Legislature

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LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — A new package of bills to ban child marriages in Michigan has been introduced in the Legislature.

The bills were created in response to a Target 8 investigation that exposed girls as young as 14 were marrying adult men in Michigan because the state has no minimum age for marriages. Child brides can find themselves in a difficult and dangerous position: Research shows they’re more likely to be victims of abuse and it’s difficult for them to get the legal help they need to get a divorce.

Three bills, House Bills 4003, 4004 and 4005, would ban marriage for anyone under the age of 18. If passed, they would go into effect at the start of 2020.

One of the bills’ cosponsors is a new Democratic representative from the Lansing area, Sarah Anthony, who is the first African-American woman to hold the seat.

“We have to do something to protect our young people. This is something I’m going to continue to work for and fight for and see through completion,” Anthony said in a video statement.

The other cosponsors include Democrat Kara Hope and Republican Graham Filler, both from mid-Michigan.

Similar bills were introduced last year, but the session ended before they were passed.

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