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New Indiana law makes it tougher for children under 18 to marry

The bill now goes to Gov. Eric Holcomb for consideration.

Posted: Mar 12, 2020 4:22 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Anyone younger than 18 will need a judge’s permission in order to get married in Indiana under a law change approved by state legislators.

The proposal endorsed almost unanimously by lawmakers late Wednesday would repeal the state’s current law that allows those as young as 15 to marry if they have parental consent. The new law would only allow 16- or 17-year-olds to marry someone no more than four years older after obtaining approval from a juvenile court judge.

Legislators heard during a committee meeting from women who were 15 or 16 when their parents forced them to marry men who had raped or molested them and then faced more abuse before being able to escape the relationship.

Current law doesn’t place any age limit on the older spouse, and Rep. Karen Engleman, the proposal’s sponsor, said her goal was to make sure both people in a marriage are on equal footing.

“It will help minor children to not get into these violent situations,” said Engleman, a Republican from Georgetown.

Engleman cited concerns that girls who marry before 18 have greater risk of sexual and domestic violence, along with higher poverty and high school dropout rates.

The bill, which now goes to Gov. Eric Holcomb for consideration, also would require judges to interview each person in private to ensure their decisions are voluntary and that they are mature enough before giving marriage permission. It also states that a pregnancy or having a child isn’t by itself sufficient to grant marriage permission.

The proposal to change the marriage age law re-emerged in the final days of this year’s legislative session, which ended early Thursday, after it was sidetracked in January by a potential fight over whether to an amendment repealing Indiana’s obsolete ban on same-sex marriages.

Rep. John Bartlett, an Indianapolis Democrat, said he believed the law change would protect girls from marriages to much older men.

“Often those childhood marriages are for human trafficking,” he said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 359430

Reported Deaths: 6033
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion48740894
Lake30537484
Allen20668338
St. Joseph19177245
Elkhart18813246
Hamilton15457182
Vanderburgh10956137
Tippecanoe1012335
Porter932192
Johnson7732177
Hendricks7353165
Vigo6736106
Monroe604854
Madison5858125
Clark575986
Delaware5535108
LaPorte5291105
Kosciusko512948
Howard417680
Bartholomew380065
Warrick364374
Wayne362893
Floyd360279
Marshall343150
Grant326753
Cass323232
Hancock320663
Noble292450
Boone282056
Henry280741
Dubois271934
Jackson266638
Morgan259246
Dearborn252832
Gibson220333
Shelby216661
Knox212122
DeKalb210838
Lawrence205951
Clinton204025
Wabash195224
Adams192724
Miami191218
Daviess176747
Montgomery171429
Steuben168616
Jasper167717
Harrison167025
Ripley167022
Fayette165839
Whitley162417
LaGrange159534
Huntington153311
White151224
Putnam147831
Decatur145246
Wells145035
Randolph143724
Clay140426
Jefferson139719
Posey135722
Scott129725
Greene121054
Jay115516
Sullivan111418
Jennings106315
Starke104328
Spencer9678
Fulton96419
Fountain9588
Washington9019
Perry89221
Carroll81313
Franklin80228
Orange77028
Vermillion74911
Owen72210
Parke7056
Tipton68327
Blackford66116
Rush6488
Newton62513
Pike59321
Pulaski49720
Benton4483
Brown4226
Martin4006
Crawford3611
Union3032
Warren2893
Switzerland2825
Ohio2507
Unassigned0285

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 446849

Reported Deaths: 6753
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin57040674
Cuyahoga43640768
Hamilton34945379
Montgomery23828265
Butler17529154
Lucas17023438
Summit16486374
Stark11437231
Warren994381
Mahoning9092303
Lake840880
Lorain8213106
Clermont712156
Trumbull6752155
Delaware668142
Licking658677
Fairfield634265
Greene623977
Clark6038142
Allen569995
Medina565858
Wood5434113
Marion523067
Miami513168
Portage441676
Pickaway440350
Columbiana4131103
Richland409643
Tuscarawas405980
Wayne3838108
Mercer319859
Muskingum314512
Hancock284546
Ross278766
Darke275463
Ashtabula271957
Erie266670
Auglaize265841
Geauga257251
Putnam246455
Scioto240023
Union232213
Lawrence223341
Shelby222317
Athens22134
Seneca209621
Belmont198729
Madison191019
Sandusky189233
Huron185422
Preble180021
Jefferson172316
Defiance167733
Washington164129
Fulton159730
Knox159520
Crawford158620
Logan153821
Holmes153239
Ottawa143732
Ashland135133
Williams132912
Brown12675
Jackson125913
Clinton125619
Highland124418
Hardin122126
Champaign12158
Guernsey117115
Henry114629
Van Wert114118
Morrow11262
Fayette108117
Perry104513
Coshocton102815
Gallia95615
Pike9352
Adams91513
Wyandot88019
Hocking80718
Paulding78215
Noble69828
Carroll61412
Meigs49612
Monroe41022
Morgan37014
Harrison3053
Vinton2996
Unassigned00
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