Monday, May 13, 2024

House passes bill to raise minimum marriage age to 18, sending it to governor

From New Hampshire Bulletin:

The New Hampshire House passed a bill Thursday raising the legal age of marriage to 18, sending the legislation to Gov. Chris Sununu’s desk after years of advocacy.

Senate Bill 359, which passed 192-174, states that “no person below the age of 18 years shall be capable of contracting a valid marriage, and all marriages contracted by such persons shall be null and void.” Under present law, that age is 16.

The bill would also repeal statutes that currently provide legal avenues for minors to marry. Currently, RSA 457:6 allows parents and guardians for those between 16 and 18 to petition a family court to grant permission for the marriage. That petition must include an indication of whether the Division for Children, Youth and Families has ever been involved with the child, and it allows the court to conduct an interview with each minor getting married without their parents present. SB 359 would eliminate the process entirely.

If signed into law, SB 359 would make New Hampshire one of 12 states that have banned marriage under 18 with no exceptions, a list that includes Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, according to UNICEF

Read more here.

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