Capitol rally calls for ban on child marriage

Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Women in bridal gowns rallied at the state Capitol Wednesday to support legislation that would prohibit child marriage in Pennsylvania.

A bill pending in the Legislature would make 18 the minimum age for obtaining a marriage license, with no exceptions. Under current state law, a marriage license may be issued to an applicant younger than 16 with court approval, or to an applicant older than 16 but younger than 18 with the consent of a parent or guardian.

“A girl who marries before 18 is more likely to drop out of high school, less likely ever to finish college. She’s much more likely to end up living in poverty. She’s three times more likely to experience domestic violence,” said Fraidy Reiss, founder of Unchained At Last, an organization that works to end forced and child marriages.

Supporters say if the bill is signed into law, Pennsylvania will be the third state to ban child marriage. Delaware and New Jersey passed similar laws in 2018.

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