Effort to bar child marriage in California runs into opposition

Jul 8, 2017 by

A Bay Area legislator was shocked when he learned from a young constituent that while Californians cannot legally consent to sex until they are 18, they can — with the permission of a parent and a judge’s order — get married at any age, even if their spouse is many years older.

“I thought, that can’t be true in California,” said state Sen. Jerry Hill, a Democrat from San Mateo. “We found that it is true in California and true in many states throughout the country.”

But Hill’s resulting proposal to bar juveniles from getting hitched has been watered down after it prompted strong objections from civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union.

As the emotional fight unfolds in Sacramento, there’s no agreement even about a basic piece of information — how many minors get married each year in California. People who want to limit such marriages say the total is in the thousands, while those who oppose the bill say that’s vastly inflated.

The state doesn’t keep such numbers, and even efforts to change that are running into resistance.

Source: Effort to bar child marriage in California runs into opposition – San Francisco Chronicle

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