Missouri lately took the step of outlawing marriage between 15-year-olds.
On Friday, Gov. Mike Parson signed Senate Invoice 655 into regulation. Previous to that, Missouri was certainly one of 25 states with no minimal marriage age.
“The welfare of our kids should at all times be a prime precedence,” mentioned Parson, experiences the Kansas Metropolis Star.
The legislative transfer comes after the newspaper printed a sequence in March on baby marriage that confirmed Missouri had the doubtful distinction of probably the most permissive legal guidelines within the nation.
In consequence, the publication experiences, Missouri was one thing of a vacation spot for underage brides, with 1,000 15-year-old women marrying between 1999 and 2017.
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Now, the minimal authorized age for marriage within the state is 16; tying the knot at 16 or 17 requires the signed approval of a minimum of one mum or dad. Moreover, marriage licenses won’t be given to folks age 21 and older desiring to marry somebody 16 or youthful.
“It’s finished. It’s superior,” Rep. Jean Evans, a Republican from St. Louis County who labored to vary the state’s baby marriage legal guidelines, advised the Star. “I believe some folks assume there’s not a lot to it as a result of we raised it from 15 to 16. (However) there was no minimal earlier than.
“Most essential, we’re not going to permit adults to prey on kids. Somebody 21 is just not going to be allowed to marry somebody 15. We’re not going to permit adults to legalize what’s statutory rape,” Evans added.
The brand new regulation locations Missouri amongst an ever-increasing variety of states adopting stricter baby marriage legal guidelines.
In Could, Delaware turned the primary state within the nation to ban baby marriage—anybody beneath 18—altogether, with no exceptions. New Jersey adopted swimsuit in June. Within the final two years, Virginia and Texas outlawed marriages beneath age 18, until the kids have been legally emancipated. New York final 12 months made 17 the minimal age.