Tags: spain | marrying | age | child | protection

Spain Marrying Age Upped From 14 to 16 at United Nation's Urging

Image: Spain Marrying Age Upped From 14 to 16 at United Nation's Urging
Spain has raised the minimum marrying age to 16. (Amoklv/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Thursday, 23 Jul 2015 01:27 PM

Spain raised its marrying age from 14 to 16 on Thursday after continued pressure from child protection groups and United Nations experts implored the country to boost its protection for minors while aligning it more closely with the European Union.

A previous law allowed Spanish teenagers to marry as young as 14 with the permission of a judge, according to The Associated Press. Spain also had one of the world’s lowest minimum marriage ages, whereas most member countries of the EU set their minimum age limits at 16. The minimum age for consent in sexual relations was also recently raised in Spain from 13 to 16.

This new move will affect relatively few Spanish marriages, as only 365 marriages with teens under age 16 took place from 2000-2014, according to the BBC. Only five of those marriages occurred in 2014. There was much more cause for concern in the 1990s, however, when 2,678 marriages took place involving at least one marriage partner under the age of 16. In the '80s, some 12,867 marriages took place involving at least one person under 16.

In France, Belgium, Sweden, and many other European countries, the minimum marriage age is 18, according to the BBC. In Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, and others, 16 is the minimum age. Estonia currently has one of Europe’s lowest legal marrying ages at 15, although the sanction for this marriage requires the court’s consent.

The BBC also noted that a study by the Statistical Institute of Catalonia in Spain showed that men in the region married at an average age of 33.6 years in 2013, which is up from 30.7 years 10 years earlier. Women, on the other hand, married at an average age of 32.6 years, which is up from 28.7 years 10 years ago.

Nevertheless, the UN experts and child protection groups that lobbied for Spain to increase the marriage limit for the past several years were thrilled with the success.

“'Fundamentally it's a measure of protection to avert possible forced marriages, sexual exploitation or offenses against children, especially girls,” said Ana Sastre on behalf of a Spanish charity before the change was officially announced, according to the Daily Mail.

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Spain raised its marrying age from 14 to 16 on Thursday after continued pressure from child protection groups and United Nations experts implored the country to boost its protection for minors while aligning it more closely with the European Union.
spain, marrying, age, child, protection
367
2015-27-23
Thursday, 23 Jul 2015 01:27 PM
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