Indiana measure looks to limit marriage for those under 18

Indiana lawmakers could make it more difficult for anyone younger than 18 to get married.

Posted: Jan 28, 2020 10:57 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana lawmakers could make it more difficult for anyone younger than 18 to get married.

The bill is advancing after a House committee heard from women who were 15 or 16 when their parents forced them to marry men who had raped or molested them and then faced more abuse before being able to escape the relationship.

Current law allows those younger than 18 to marry if they have parental consent. The state health department says 95 people between the age of 15 and 17 got married in 2018.

A proposal being considered would make 18 the general age for marriage. The only exception would be a 17-year-old if the intended spouse isn’t more than four years older and a juvenile court judge gives permission.

Bill sponsor Republican Rep. Karen Engleman of Georgetown says her goal is to make sure both people in a marriage are on equal footing.

The House Judiciary Committee endorsed the bill 9-1 on Monday, sending it to the full House for consideration.

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