Louisiana House advances bill that would set 16 as minimum age to marry in the state

Lawmakers in the House Civil Law and Procedure Committee debated a proposal to set 16 as Louisiana’s minimum age for marriage on Tuesday, May 28. (Photo credit: Lauren Heffker/LSU Manship School News Service)

Published: May 28, 2019

By: Lauren Heffker and Tryfon Boukouvidis, LSU Manship School News Service

A Louisiana House committee advanced a bill on Tuesday that would set 16 as the minimum age for marriage in the state.

Louisiana currently does not have a legal minimum age for marriage. Minors need parental consent to get married, and if they are under 16 they need parental consent and the authorization from a juvenile court judge.

Under the proposed law, sponsored by Sen. Yvonne Colomb, D-Baton Rouge, minors 16 and 17 seeking to get married would have to obtain the permission of a parent and a judge.

Some committee members did not agree that 16 was old enough and contended that 18 would be the appropriate age.

Rep. Tanner Magee, R-Houma, and Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Pineville, advocated for raising the age to 18.

Referring to a bill that was struck down last week, Magee asked why lawmakers had supported a proposal that would have raised the minimum smoking age to 21, but not a child marriage ban.

Louisiana House lawmakers last Thursday voted down a proposal for a higher smoking age. The bill would have raised the smoking age from 18 to 21 for tobacco, alternative nicotine or vaping products.

“We want to trust [minors] to make the most important decision of their entire lives when their brains aren’t even fully formed yet,” Magee said in the House Committee on Civil Law and Procedure. “I think it’s very shortsighted of us. The more lightly we take it, the less serious people [will] take it,” he added.

Read more in The Gambit.

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