State House votes for ending child marriage in Pennsylvania

Tony Romeo
June 06, 2019 - 11:26 am

HARRISBURG, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — The Pennsylvania House has sent the Senate legislation that would end child marriages in Pennsylvania. 

The sponsor of the bill, Republican Rep. Jesse Topper, said remarkably, Pennsylvania is one of 27 states that does not set a minimum age for marriage. It is permitted with consent of a parent or guardian for those over 16 and under 18, and even under age 16 if approved by a court.

"An estimated 248,000 children were married in the U.S. between the years 2000 and 2010," he said. "Almost 77 percent of these marriages were young girls, were married to adult men."

Topper said married minors don’t have the same rights as adults when it comes to terminating their marriages, leading to abuse. 

The bill — which would make 18 the minimum age to obtain a marriage license, with no exceptions — passed the House without a single "no" vote. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.