Minimum marriage age could soon be set at 16 years old

KPLC - Minimum marriage age could soon be set at 16 years old

LOUISIANA (KPLC) - How young is too young to get married? That’s what’s being debated at the legislative session and a bill proposes to set that age at 16 years old.

Some local parents weighed in on the possible minimum age Wednesday.

“I think it’s too young," Vanessa Castro said.

“That’s way too young," Debbie Johnson said.

“16 is not old enough, not at all," Jenny LaFleur said.

Right now, there is no minimum age required to get married in Louisiana. Senate bill 172 could soon change that.

“I remember myself at 16 and I barely knew what I was doing. You’re what, a sophomore or junior at 16? So, I think it’s kind of ridiculous to be honest," Castro said.

“It seems pretty insane to me, because if you think about it, the legal age is 18. It’s not really much of a difference, I’m sure people can just wait a few years," Anjell Fields, a parent, said.

Senator Yvonne Colomb, D- Baton Rouge, who wrote the bill, said she’d rather have a minimum age than none at all.

“I started out at 18 and my colleagues thought that was a little too old. Especially my male colleagues. I went to the house, they wanted to move it back to 18 but we knew that if we did that it wouldn’t pass," Colomb said.

Her motivation, she said, is to protect children from being married off.

“We found that some parents were letting their children, young children, marry older men for economic reasons. Economic for themselves and economic for the children," Colomb said.

As of now, any minor must have consent from both of their parents and from a juvenile court judge. If the bill is passed, 16 and 17 year olds would still need that consent.

“We said 16 could marry someone that was two years older, which would be an 18 years old, and, of course, they would have to go to a judge and parental consent," Colomb said.

The bill is currently pending legislative bureau. If passed, it will go into effect August 1.

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