Bill that would increase legal age to marry to 18 years old passes PA House

HARRISBURG — A bill that would increase the legal age a person can get married to 18 has passed the state House and is heading to the Senate.

Under current Pennsylvania law, a marriage license may be issued to an applicant younger than 16 years old with court approval. It may also be issued to an individual between 16 and 18 with the consent of a parent or guardian.

“This bill serves to protect our youth from being coerced into marriage and potentially exploited,” said Rep. Jesse Topper (R-Bedford/Franklin/Fulton). “Human trafficking reaches people of all aspects of life, especially children between the ages of 12 and 14. My bill adds another layer of protection for our vulnerable youth.”

Rep. Topper added, “Children under the age of 18 cannot vote, serve in the military and buy alcohol or tobacco products, among other things. Marriage is a life-altering decision and those who enter into it must be of a certain maturity that comes with age.”

Eric Failing, the executive director of PA Catholic Conference had this to say: “This is a common-sense bill that will help to combat human-trafficking in Pennsylvania. We thank Rep. Topper for his leadership on this. Our hope is that it will eliminate arranged marriages and the exploitation of young people.”

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