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Indiana raises minimum age to marry

Multiple changes for Indiana state laws go into effect Wednesday, including raising the minimum age to marry from 15 to 16.

As with prior law, anyone under the age of 18 will need a court judge's approval to marry.

Indiana residents aged 16 or 17 are only allowed to wed people no more than four years older than they are.

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State leaders said the changes to the law would prevent victims from any forced arrangements, such as marrying their abusers.

Legislators heard testimonies from women who were 15 and 16 when their parents forced them into relationships with men who had raped or molested them, adding that they suffered more abuse before they could get out of their unwanted marriage.

The law was sponsored by state Rep. Karen Engleman (R), who cited concerns that girls who marry before 18 are at more significant risk of becoming victims of sexual and domestic abuse, as well as higher levels of poverty and school dropout rates.