Bill limiting child marriage passes Florida House

Posted at 4:00 PM, Feb 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-15 16:00:00-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - In what has become one of the high-profile issues of this year’s legislative session, the House this week overwhelmingly passed a bill that would prevent most minors from getting married in Florida.

But the House would not go as far as the Senate, which has passed an outright ban on marriage licenses for people under age 18.

The House version would allow people who are age 16 or 17 to get married under certain circumstances that include pregnancy. The minors could only marry people who are no more than two years older.

The couples also would have to verify pregnancies, and the minors would have to get written consent from their parents or guardians. State Representative Jeanette Nunez is the bill sponsor.

“What we are trying to do here is end, as much as possible, child marriage," said State Rep. Nunez, R- Miami. "I think this bill, the way it’s amended, tries to forge a compromise with some on both sides of the issue that had some concerns that the original bill was either too strict or not strict enough.”

Under current law, minors age 16 and 17 can get marriage licenses with parental consent, and judges have discretion to issue licenses to younger minors if they have children or if pregnancies are involved.

The House and Senate have a little more than three weeks to work out the differences before the scheduled March 9th end of the session.