State Watch

Idaho lawmakers kill bill that would have ended child marriage under 16 in state

The Idaho state House on Thursday killed a bipartisan bill that would have ended child marriage in the state.

The legislation would have made changes to the state’s current law, which allows children under the age of 16 to marry with consent from the child’s parents and a judge.

The bill proposed setting the minimum age to marry at 16 and requiring 16- and 17-year-olds to have the consent of their parents and the court in order to marry. This would still have put Idaho’s marriage age below that of many other states, where the legal age is 18.

{mosads}The GOP-led state House voted 28-39 to reject the bill, according to the Idaho Statesman.

Opponents to the bill argued that it would result in too much government and judicial oversight. Some also cited the state’s abortion laws, which allow a girl under the age of 18 to get an abortion with the consent of one parent or a judge.

“If we pass this legislation, it will then become easier in the state of Idaho to obtain an abortion at 15 years old than it will to decide to form a family and create a family for a child that has been conceived,” State Rep. Christy Zito (R) said on the House floor, according to the Statesman.

Idaho has the highest rate of child marriage in the country, the Statesman reported, citing a national report from advocacy group Unchained at Last

Last year, Delaware became the first state to ban child marriage, setting the minimum age for marriage in any circumstance at 18.

A number of other states, including New York and Texas, have also recently passed laws to raise the minimum legal age to marry.

This story was updated at 2:22 p.m.

Tags child marriage Idaho State laws
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