Tags: delaware | child marriage | ban

Delaware Child Marriage Banned, Still Legal Elsewhere

Delaware Child Marriage Banned, Still Legal Elsewhere

(Audrius Merfeldas/Dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 11 May 2018 08:17 AM

Delaware became the first state to fully outlaw child marriage, setting the legal age at 18, WDEL Radio reported, but marriage for those younger than that is still legal everywhere else.

An amendment to Delaware law closed a loophole in previous law that allowed for marriages under 18 with court approval of a petition or parental consent.

"Children under 18 have no legal standing," Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams said, per WDEL. "They cannot file for divorce, utilize a domestic violence shelter, apply for a loan or open a credit card. They cannot enter any legal contract, but until this bill was signed they could be married as a child without any way of escaping an abusive marriage.”

"Now that we have closed this loophole in Delaware law, children will be protected from forced marriage and its dangerous consequences. I am so proud that Delaware is leading the way to protect children, and I hope that other states follow suit," she said.

While the bill passed unanimously in the state Senate last week, in April the bill passed with just Democratic support in the House, 23-11 with six abstentions, WDEL reported.

Reuters reported that many who oppose the bill cited religious freedom or sought exceptions for those in military service or pregnant.

"We as lawmakers have always said the family is sacrosanct," said state Sen. Colin Bonini, per the Wilmington News Journal. "So if a family is following a certain faith and they want to marry off their son or daughter at 17 and have been for generations, why is it our job in government to tell them they can't?"

State Rep. Mike Ramone said the law could have "unintended consequences."

"No one is in favor of a 45-year-old marrying a 14-year-old and if the intent of the bill is to keep that from happening, I think we all agree that's something we should keep from happening," Ramone told the News Journal. "But we all know people who got married in their teens are still happily together today. Our concern is the unintended consequences that this bill could have on those families."

More than 90 percent of the child brides and grooms in Delaware were wed to someone older than 18 with roughly 40 percent married to someone older than 21, although generally within five years of the minor, the News Journal said.

A similar bill in New Jersey is making its way through the legislature, while in Florida, lawmakers recently compromised and banned marriage under 17, Reuters reported.

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
TheWire
Delaware became the first state to fully outlaw child marriage, setting the legal age at 18, but marriage for those younger than that is still legal everywhere else.
delaware, child marriage, ban
421
2018-17-11
Friday, 11 May 2018 08:17 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved