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Should the exceptions to “minimal marriage age” be eliminated?

Posted by on Feb. 7, 2018 at 9:38 PM
  • 55 Replies

My question is NOT, Do you think marriages of those 16 or 17 are wise? My question is, Do you agree that the states should set 18 as an absolute minimum age for the issuance of marriage licenses?


(Even being the third child of parents who married at 18 and celebrate #57 in June, and the parent of two teen marriages, I’m not sure they are wise, but I don’t think they should be eliminated entirely.)

 

The minimum legal age for marriage in all 50 states is 18, with the exception of Nebraska at 19 and Mississippi at 21. However, most all states have exceptions that allow marriage at a younger age, like 16, with parental permission, a judge’s permission, or with the permission of the parents and a judge. Some states are more favorable to pregnant teens than other teens.

 

For decades, our state allowed those 16 and 17 to marry with permission of both parents, but recently passed laws allowing them to marry only if the minor has been “emancipated” by the court, which requires the “emancipated minor” to be “self supporting financially” among other conditions. The judge has to find as “fact” that the minor is “self supporting financially.” That has quickly become equivalent to “no teen marriages allowed” because there ain’t many, if any, such teens in America, besides maybe child stars.

 

Our state has about 1/12 of the US population, and a recent 15 plus year history of about 3,000 teens 16 and 17 getting married each year out of 360,000 people that get married each year in our state; roughly 2,200 that are 17 and 800 that are 16, ZERO below 16. I was totally surprised that it was that rare. 

 

(Our youngest daughter and SIL, who were both a few days shy of 17 on their wedding day, are not among those because they married on a beach in Hawaii. Oldest daughter and SIL were both 18.)

 

As with most such laws, many of those affected by the law are evading the law by driving across the border to another state for a “legal marriage” and then having a second ceremony for friends and family. I have been to two of those this year. (The local minister or justice of the peace does not need a marriage licence to do subsequent ceremonies for an already married couple.)   


by on Feb. 7, 2018 at 9:38 PM
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Replies (1-10):
ShaMac
by Bronze Member on Feb. 7, 2018 at 9:42 PM
5 moms liked this
I'm against teen marriage in their world countries so I don't see why I would support them here. If yoou can't buy liquor it's crazy that you can get married.
MissAndree
by Member on Feb. 7, 2018 at 10:44 PM
2 moms liked this
I think that it should absolutely be an 18 year old minimum. No exceptions.
cybcm
by Silver Member on Feb. 7, 2018 at 10:48 PM
I see absolutely zero reason for the minimum age to drop.

Saphira1207
by Member on Feb. 7, 2018 at 10:59 PM
1 mom liked this

You should not be able to get married before you're allowed to drink, smoke, or join the military.

So 18 with no exceptions.

coolmommy2x
by Bronze Member on Feb. 7, 2018 at 11:07 PM
3 moms liked this
I don't think the age should be lower and would probably support it being raised to 21.
Msgme
by Gold Member on Feb. 8, 2018 at 12:39 AM

I think it should stay at 18 and i would prob even support it going to 21.  I was very very young when i got married and I don't regret it at all.  My first wedding ceremony It was not legal because i was under age and it worked out for me and i have 0 regrets but being as young as i was  I was not really ready for what i was getting into.  even tho i thought i was all growed up at the time

ljmom24
by Silver Member on Feb. 8, 2018 at 7:14 AM
2 moms liked this
No, I have been with dh since we were teens but we waited iuntil we were much older go get married and I honestly believe if we got married and started a family younger we wouldn’t still be together.

There is a lot of growing up and maturing that happened between when we started dating and got married and even after. Some things we fought about then we see now where silly. I think when you are younger you have more naive ideas about marriage and what a spouses roll is and isn’t. Dh and I grew up together but we could have easily grew apart.

I would never expect my kids teenage love to be their forever love. It worked for dh and I but I get we are the minority. While I don’t have a daughter the feminist in my would tell a teenage girl we have come very far with more to come but not that long ago a girl’s future was wife/mother or teacher or nurse. Girls from families of means were sent to college to find a husband. Woman didn’t march so you could get married at 16, they marched so you could become doctors, lawyers, CEOs, scientist, politicians etc.

Now more then any other time it’s exciting to be a young girl. The hope the metoo movement changes more for woman. The message we won’t stand or be silent for being sex objects for men anymore. We need to be encouraging our girls to live to their full potential not settle at 16 for the first boy that says he loves you.

Generations ago people got married younger but they didn’t live as long. Even longer ago girls were married off at 14. My friends mom was married at 16. She lived in a small Italian village. Her wedding picture isn’t of s smiling bride, it’s a terrified little girl. Yes she grew to love her husband but is the message we want for our daughters. Girls were she was from weren’t educated after 5th grade. They stayed home and learned to be wives and mothers.

I want more for my nieces. I want them to learn to stand on their own. A man for compliment you not define you and I think you need to know who you are before you look for your lifetime mate. And maybe you do find it at 16 but there is so much growing up to do why add the stress of marriage. Marriage is hard work as is growing up why rush either.
CABZS
by Member on Feb. 8, 2018 at 7:24 AM
But they can go join the military and go off to war? Ridiculous they wouldn't be allowed to marry.

Glad I was able to marry my husband before sending him off.

Before 18 should be a no go, always.

Quoting ShaMac: I'm against teen marriage in their world countries so I don't see why I would support them here. If yoou can't buy liquor it's crazy that you can get married.
ShaMac
by Bronze Member on Feb. 8, 2018 at 7:36 AM
1 mom liked this
That's nice, dear. Did you marry at 16? That's the age we are talking about. Perhaps liquor was misleading. I don't think teen marriage is a great idea and hope my dd never goes that route. If it worked for you that's nice but it isn't a life I would want for my kid.

Quoting CABZS: But they can go join the military and go off to war? Ridiculous they wouldn't be allowed to marry.



Glad I was able to marry my husband before sending him off.



Before 18 should be a no go, always.
Quoting ShaMac: I'm against teen marriage in their world countries so I don't see why I would support them here. If yoou can't buy liquor it's crazy that you can get married.
atlmom2
by Susie on Feb. 8, 2018 at 8:09 AM
It should stay 18.
How many marriages under 18 last 50 plus years?
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