Child marriage still legal in Michigan

Zontians from around the state will convene in Lansing on Wednesday Dec. 4 in support of House Bills 4003-05 to end child marriage in Michigan.

Zonta International District 15 (Michigan, Ontario) will be hosting Advocacy Day on Wednesday, December 4, at 11 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 510 W. Ottawa, Lansing.

There will be a briefing for participants on child marriage at 11 a.m., followed by meetings with state representatives urging their support for Bipartisan House Bills 4003-05 to end child marriage in Michigan.

Zontians from around the state will convene for this important advocacy event.

The focus on child marriage coincides with Zonta International’s 2019-2020 initiative to end child marriage worldwide, and is the theme of Zonta’s 16 Days of Activism, November 25 – December 10.

Between 2000 and 2015, more than 200,000 children under age 18 were married in the United States.

In Michigan, 84% of child marriages were girls marrying adult men.

Michigan’s marriage records are sealed, so a FOIA request from Wood8 Grand Rapids news found a 48 year old adult male marrying a 15 year old girl, which is below the legal age of consent.

Research on the impacts of child marriage in the United States and other countries shows that child marriage is deeply harmful.

It puts girls—who are far more likely to be subjected to child marriage than boys—at risk of negative health problems, interrupted education, poverty, and domestic violence.

Children who are married can also face greater difficulty in escaping abusive relationships.

Currently, Michigan has NO minimum age to marry.

The law lets judges and parents sign off on child marriage.

You do not need to show proof of age to marry in Michigan.

The statute sets no limit on how young children could wed.

This is an outdated and dangerous law from the 1800s.

Press is invited to attend the briefing for information, followed by a press conference at noon in room 502 of the Anderson House Office Building.

State representative Sarah Anthony, District 68, will speak at the press conference. Press questions will be welcomed during the press conference.

For more information, contact Denise Sylvester, Advocacy Chair, at Zontad15advocacy@gmail.com, or call 989-808-5494.

Through continuous engagement over almost 10 decades, Zonta International has become a respected service organization, as well as a non-governmental organization with general consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

Zonta’s nearly 1,200 clubs support local and regional initiatives in 63 countries worldwide.

Since 1923, Zonta has provided more than $40.9 million to empower women and expand their access to education, health care, economic opportunities and safe living conditions.

Time Agenda Speaker
10:30am – 11:00am Zontians Arrive
11:00am Opening Remarks DeAnna Cambridge

Governor-Elect

Zonta District 15

11:10am Child Marriage Overview Denise Sylvester

Advocacy Chair

Zonta District 15

11:30am How to Talk to Your Representative Barb Swartzel
Advocacy CommitteeZonta District 15
11:45am Adjourn
12:00pm Press Conference

Capitol Lawn, West Michigan Ave & Capitol Ave

DeAnna Cambridge
12:00pm – 1:20pm Representative Meetings and Drop-Ins All
1:30pm House Legislative Session House Session Floor, State Capitol Building, Lansing, MI

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