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Bill Would Increase Minimum Age For Marriage In N.H. To 18

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A bill that would increase the minimum age for marriage in the state to 18 is up for a vote in the New Hampshire House this week.

State law currently allows girls as young as 13 and boys as young as 14 to enter into a marriage contract, with parental consent and judicial approval. The law dates back to 1907.

Madison Lightfoot with the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence says there were 88 cases of marriage involving a minor in the state between 2004 and 2015.

“In 2013, we had a young girl – 13 years old – enter into a contract of marriage," said Lightfoot, whose organization supports the bill. "So it’s pretty mind blowing when you think about the fact that we can have kids entering into marriage, especially when we know that child marriage is often times forced.”

Under the bill, both men and women would need to be 18 to get married. It passed out of the House Committee on Children and Family Law with unanimous support.

Michael serves as NHPR's Program Director. Michael came to NHPR in 2012, working as the station's newscast producer/reporter. In 2015, he took on the role of Morning Edition producer. Michael worked for eight years at The Telegraph of Nashua, covering education and working as the metro editor.

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