Skip to comments.Florida’s other new minimum age law has nothing to do with guns
Posted on 03/10/2018 3:42:10 PM PST by Kaslin
Most of the Florida news this week (aside from Florida Man, of course) has dealt with the state raising the minimum age for purchasing most long rifles to 21 and the immediate NRA lawsuit which followed. But there’s another bill which has passed the legislature and been sent to the Governor’s desk, and it also deals with questions of minimum age. This one covers marriage. If signed into law, this legislation will impose significant restrictions on marriage for anyone under the age of eighteen. (Boston Globe)
A woman who was 11 when she was forced to marry her rapist has worked for six years to ban child marriages in Florida. On Friday, she was hailed as a hero after the Legislature passed a bill prohibiting marriage for anyone under 17. State lawmakers have repeatedly cited Sherry Johnson as an inspiration to change the law. She watched in the House gallery as the bill passed the House on a 109-1 vote, then stood as representatives turned to face her and applauded.
My heart is happy, she said afterward. My goal was to protect our children and I feel like my mission has been accomplished. This is not about me. I survived.
The bill was a compromise between the House and Senate. The Senate originally passed a bill that banned the marriage of anyone under 18, but the House had wanted to carve out exceptions for some 16- and 17-year-olds when theres a pregnancy.
So the new bill will only allow a 17-year-old to get married if the proposed spouse is no more than two years older. There are no exceptions for pregnancy and marriage at 16 and under is forbidden even with parental consent. Currently, 16 and 17-year-olds can be married if both parents agree and there’s technically no minimum age if the girl is pregnant, but you need a judge to sign off on the nuptials.
Cases like this tend to get under my skin because of all the complexities involved. I’ve long maintained that government should be out of the business of marriage with only a couple of exceptions. The idea of minimum age laws happens to be one of those exceptions, recognizing the need to prevent the abuse of those unable to give informed consent under the guise of marriage. None of these laws should be handled at the federal level, so letting the states deal with it is preferable. On both those scores, Florida is at least partially on the right track here.
Unfortunately, when you draw a red line in the sand like this you tend to brush some important things under the rug. Florida Republicans in the House had wanted to have at least some exceptions for pregnancy, but the compromise bill overruled them. That’s unfortunate. While it’s hardly the ideal situation anyone would wish for, there are going to be times when an underage girl and her boyfriend wind up conceiving. If both are inclined and the families agree, it seems abusive on the part of the state to refuse to at least give them a shot at marrying and making a go of it as a family. Yes, marriages at that age tend to have a high failure rate, but some of them succeed and that actually used to be quite common in America. (My grandparents married when she was 15 and he was 17 and they were still married when she passed away in her nineties.)
I do understand what the legislature is trying to achieve here and I don’t disagree with their goals. They cite some alarming statistics of recent marriages in that state, including one instance where a man of more than 90 married a girl who was 16 or 17 years old. That’s not a case of needing to call a preacher. You should be calling the cops. I get it. But there are times when young love and poor choices go hand in hand and this law just ignores those realities.
Hmmmn. Speechless, jaw dropping...
The only problem with this, is if there are states nearby that do allow for younger marriages, the couples will simply go there and Florida will have to recognize them. This used to be a theme in old movies; there was one state on the East Coast that allowed younger marriages—I forget which it was—and couple would go there, find a justice of the peace and get married.
My opinion, if a teen can consent to an abortion at the age of sixteen she is old enough to consent to marriage. Also I think a parent is for the most part able to decide whether their minor child of 16 or 17 should be given their consent to marry.
I’d love to know just when that happened. Not recently, you can be sure.
It does say it was a recent marriage. But I think parents are doing their daughters wrong by not instilling normal ideals in their kids. As in, if you’re 16 and marry a 90-year-old guy, and you have a child then will the dad be around to play ball with the kid, see his accomplishments or be around for grandchildren. I mean, can you imagine going out with friends your age as a teen or twenty-something and introducing your 90-ish husband? Bizarre! I had concerns about my oldest marrying a guy almost ten years older, but they’ve been together almost 15 years now and their marriage is solid with two kids (and she made more than him to this day so money was not a factor). But for others to marry 70-plus years apart?!
EVERY movie used this town, still not sure what state it’s in...I’m thinking Kentucky, and don’t ask me why!
Ooops, I had the COUNTRY wrong! Gretna Green is in Scotland.... I’ll have to GTS (google that shit) to see where in the united states it is.
“Parental consent is needed in Alabama and Utah at age 14, and in Nebraska and Oregon, the age is 17. The ages for males and females to marry differs in some states. In New Hampshire, the ages at which you may get married with parental consent are 14 for males and 13 for females.”
OK, that’s just scary! I have a soon to be 15 yr old gs...and a 12 yr old gd!!
Go Florida...but I am bothered by how they’ve taken the parents comepletly out of the equation.
I can’t help but wonder if a substantial bank account was involved.
hey not everyone lives one enough to marry their great-great granddaughter
It is in Scotland on the border with England. Couples used to runaway and elope there because marriage laws were different than in England. Mostly in regards to parental consent.
Old guy did not want his children or grandchildren to get his money.
A spouse's claim on the estate supersedes that of any offspring.
It might have been Maryland. It didn’t require a waiting period. As you found out Gretna Green was in Scotland, which apparently didn’t require the bans to be announced in advance of marriage.
The point being, that if there is another jurisdiction available, people will use it.
Yes Gretna Green is in Scotland. People used to elope there because unlike England you didn’t need to wait for a license. The blacksmith could marry you. :-)
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