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Selected Michigan Marriage Laws



MCL 5551.1 Marriage is inherently a unique relationship between a man and a woman.  As a matter of public policy, this state has a special interest in encouraging, supporting, and protecting that unique relationship in order to promote, among other goals, the stability and welfare of society and its children.  A marriage contracted between individuals of the same sex is invalid in this state.

MCL 551.2 So far as its validity in law is concerned, marriage is a civil contract, between a man and a woman, to which the consent of parties capable in law of contracting, is essential.  Consent alone will not be enough to effectuate a legal marriage from and after January 1, 1957.  Consent shall be followed by obtaining a license as required by section 1 of Act No. 128 of the Public Acts of 1887, being section 551.101 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, or as provided for by section 1 of Act No. 180 of the Public Acts of 1897, being section 551.201 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, and solemnization, as authorized by sections 7 to 18 of this chapter.

MCL 551.3  A man shall not  marry his mother, sister,  grandmother, daughter, granddaughter, stepmother, grandfather’s wife, son’s wife, grandson’s wife, wife’s mother, wife’s grandmother, wife’s daughter, wife’s granddaughter, brother’s daughter, sister’s daughter, father’s sister, mother’s sister, or cousin of the first degree, or another man.

MCL 551.4 A woman shall not marry her father, brother, grandfather, son, grandson, stepfather, grandmother’s husband, daughter’s husband, granddaughter’s husband, husband’s father, husband’s grandfather, husband’s son, husband’s grandson, brother’s son, sister’s son, father’s brother, mother’s brother, or cousin of the first degree, or another woman.

MCL 551.5   No marriage shall be contracted whilst either of the parties has a former wife or husband living, unless the marriage with such former wife or husband, shall have been dissolved.

MCL 551.103 A person who is 18 years or older may contract marriage.  A person who is 16 years of age but is less than 18 years of age may contract marriage with the written consent of one parent of the person or the person’s legal guardian, as provided in this section.  As proof of age, the person who intends to be married, in addition to the statement of age in the application, when requested by the county clerk, shall submit a birth certificate or other proof of age.  If appears from the affidavit that either the applicant for a marriage license or the person whom he or she intends to marry is less than 18 years of age, the county clerk shall require that there first be produced the written consent of one of the parents of each of the person who is less than 18 years of age or of the person’s legal guardian, unless the person does not have a living parent or guardian.  The consent shall be to the marriage and to the issuing of the license for which the application is submitted.  The consent shall be given personally in the presence of the county clerk or be acknowledged before a notary public or other officer authorized to administer oaths.  A license shall not be issued by the county clerk until the requirements of this section are complied with…

MCL 551.103a  A license to marry shall not be delivered within a period of 3 days including the date of application.  However, the county clerk of each county, for good and sufficient cause shown, may deliver the license immediately following the application.  If the county clerk delivers the license immediately following the application, the person applying for the license shall pay a fee to be determined by the county board of commissioners, which the county clerk shall deposit into the general fund of the county.  A marriage license issued shall be void unless a marriage is solemnized under the license within 33 days after the application.

MCL 551.108 Any person applying for a marriage license who shall swear to a false statement therein, shall be guilty of perjury, and shall be prosecuted therefore under the general laws of the state.

MCL 333.5119 (1) An individual applying for a marriage license shall be advised through the distribution of written educational materials by the county clerk regarding prenatal care and the transmission and prevention of venereal disease and HIV infection.  The written educational materials shall describe the availability to the applicant of tests for both venereal disease and HIV infection.  The information shall include a list of locations where HIV counseling and testing services funded by the department are available.  The written educational materials shall be approved or prepared by the department.  (2)  A county clerk shall not issue a marriage license to an applicant who fails to sign and file with the county clerk an application for a marriage license that includes a statement with a check-off box indicating that the applicant has received the educational materials regarding the transmission and prevention of both venereal disease and HIV infection and has been advised of testing for both venereal disease and HIV infection, pursuant to subsection (1). (3) If either applicant for a marriage license undergoes a test for HIV or an antibody to HIV, and if the test results indicate that an applicant is HIV infected, the physician or a designee of the physician, the physician’s assistant, the certified nurse midwife, or the certified nurse practitioner or the local health officer or designee of the local health officer administering the test immediately shall inform both applicants of the test results, and shall counsel both applicants regarding the modes of HIV transmission, the potential for HIV transmission to a fetus, and protective measures.

MCL 333.5119  … The state registrar shall require each local registrar to require, as required to comply with federal law, the entry of the social security number of each applicant on an application for his or her marriage license … The directive under this subdivision for the inclusion of a social security number on an application shall not be required of an applicant who is exempt under federal law from obtaining a social security number or who is exempt under federal or state law from including his or her social security number on such an application. The state registrar shall not require a marriage license applicant's social security number to be displayed on the marriage license


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