TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Two Republican senators are looking to stop minors from being able to get married in Florida.
Majority leader Wilton Simpson and Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto filed SB 140 on Monday, Aug. 14, which would make it illegal to issue a marriage license to anyone under the age of 18.
Currently, Florida law allows minors to get married with their parents' consent or if the female is pregnant with a child.
10News exposed this law's dreadful consequences in June through the story of Sherry Johnson, a woman who was raped as a child, pregnant by age 10 and forced to marry her rapist by age 11.
In a news release sent to 10News, Simpson said: “The current law is simply unacceptable. It flies in the face of common sense. It’s an honor to join Senator Benacquisto in her never ending efforts to protect Florida’s children.”
According to an advocacy group called Unchained At Last, more than 16,000 children as young as 13 were married in Florida between 2000 and 2015. More than 80% were girls wed to adult men, often with a significant age difference. In many cases, the age of the child or the spousal age difference constituted statutory rape under Florida law.
In July, Senator Simpson told 10News reporter Liz Crawford, plans to change the law were underway and he wanted an anti-child marriage bill passed this year.
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