Pennsylvania committee votes to ban child marriage

Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) –  A committee in the state House of Representatives has advanced legislation to prohibit child marriage in Pennsylvania.

House Bill 360 would make 18 the minimum age for obtaining a marriage license, with no exceptions. The House Judiciary Committee voted 25-0 Tuesday to send the measure to the full House.

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.

The bill’s prime sponsors, state Reps. Jesse Topper (R-Bedford/Fulton/Franklin) and Perry Warren (D-Bucks), said child marriages are often coercive and exploitative and increase the risk of domestic violence.

They said if the bill is passed and 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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