Florida Lawmakers Want Exceptions for Some Child Marriages

The Senate voted to ban the issuance of marriage licenses to minors, but the House is prepared to make a change that would allow some teens to marry, despite their age. Marriage in the case of teen pregnancies may be permissible in the state if some lawmakers have their way.

The Senate approved a ban on the issuance of marriage licenses to any person under the age of 18 without exception. Now, the House Judiciary Committee wants to make a slight change. The House is still calling for the ban, but it would call for exceptions in certain cases.

Those exceptions would apply to minors aged 16 or 17 who plan to marry people who are no more than two years their senior. The licenses would be issued only in the case of pregnancy, and the pregnancy would have to be medically verified. Additionally, the minors would have to obtain written permission from parents or guardians.

Proponents of the change say that it is important to consider teen pregnancy when issuing marriage licenses. Opponents of the change say that it is important to keep the bill as it is, pointing to the high poverty rates, instances of domestic violence and divorce in those couples who marry before the age of 18.

The bill will go before the full House for a vote in the coming weeks.

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