Friday, March 31, 2023

West Virginia: Bill would ban marriages under the age of 16 in West Virginia – Usky News

CHARLESTON: A child marriage bill passed by the West Virginia Senate Friday night seeks to ban anyone under the age of 16 from marrying and for 16- and 17-year-olds over a four-year span. The change was made to ban.
executive committee The bill passed by a vote of 31-1. it goes now the house of Representatives, which had previously passed its own version. The legislative session ends on Saturday.
“I wish we would pass something because our current situation is intolerable,” said Morgan County Republican Sen. Charles Trump.
Currently, children can marry as young as 16 in West Virginia with parental consent. It allows anyone younger than that to marry with the exemption of a judge.
The Senate bill would eliminate the possibility that anyone under the age of 16 could marry. Those aged 16 and 17 must obtain parental consent and cannot marry anyone more than four years older than themselves.
Existing legal marriages, including marriages performed in other states, will remain unaffected.
The bill was considered dead on Wednesday night when the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected it, but on Thursday the bill was resurrected on the Senate floor and moved to a final vote on Friday.
Seven states have set the minimum age for marriage at 18 since 2018, according to the nonprofit group Unchained at Last, which seeks to end forced and child marriage. Proponents of such legislation say it reduces domestic violence, unwanted pregnancies and improves lives. of teenagers.
Trump said most states allow 16- and 17-year-olds to marry under certain conditions.
“I know this has been a controversial issue among many people,” Trump said. “It is my hope that this will be seen as a fair and acceptable compromise and a necessary change in our law. It will bring West Virginia in line with most states in the country.
Although recent statistics are unavailable, according to the Pew Research Center, West Virginia had the highest rate of child marriage among states in 2014, when the state’s five-year average was 7.1 marriages for every 1,000 children ages 15 to 17.
Putnam County Republican Sen. Eric Tarr said they married in high school at age 17 and had their first child five days after graduation. He said he liked Trump’s version of the bill because it “protects the family.”


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