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Idaho lawmakers strike down bill to end child marriage in the state

A national report says Idaho has the highest rate of child marriages in the U.S.
Bride placing wedding band on groom, stock image.

BOISE, Idaho — A bill to end child marriage in Idaho was killed by the state’s House of Representatives Thursday.

A national report says Idaho has the highest rate of child marriages in the U.S.

Idaho’s current law allows anyone under the age of 16 to get married if both a parent and a judge consents to the marriage. 16 and 17-year-olds can also get married with just their parent's approval. 

The bi-partisan proposed bill would have set the minimum age to marry at 16 and make it so 16 and 17-year-olds would need their parents and the court’s consent.

“This is a great opportunity for Idaho to rid itself of an infamous statistic and that is we have the highest rate of child marriage in the United States,” said Colin Nash.

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Many of the lawmakers who were against the bill said it was an overreach of the government.

“I do not think courts should be involved in marriage at all,” Bryan Zollinger, a Republican from Idaho Falls, told the Idaho Stateman. “I don’t believe there should be a license required to get married. I think two willing people should be able to go and get married.”

“This is a decision I think should belong with families," argued Republican Rep. Julianne Young. "I believe parental consent, which is what is in the law right now, should be sufficient.

The bill was ultimately rejected in the Republican-controlled House by a vote of 39-28.

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