Taking steps towards eliminating child marriage in Minnesota

Legislation to eliminate provisions allowing marriages by minors in Minnesota passed the Senate Judiciary Committee this week and moved to the Senate floor. The bill raises the marriage age in Minnesota to 18 years. Proof of age is required for both parties applying for a marriage license. Current state law allows 16- and 17-year-olds in the state to wed with permission from a parent and a judge’s approval.

The bill passed unanimously in the House in 2019, and hopefully it will pass this year with strong bipartisan support in the Senate. It is important we close this loophole in our laws that leads to teen pregnancies and forced marriages. As children, these victims face huge barriers if they try to leave home, enter a domestic violence shelter, or retain an attorney. Additionally, those who marry before 18 have a 70-80% chance of divorcing. Teen mothers who marry and then divorce are more likely to suffer economic deprivation and instability than teen mothers who stay single. It’s time to change these statistics with passage of this bill. (H.F. 745)