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Minnesota Legislature

Bill to prohibit minors from marrying OK’d by House, heads to Senate

Marriage between minors would be prohibited under a bill passed 127-0 by the House Thursday.

Sponsored by Rep. Kaohly Her (DFL-St. Paul), HF745 would also prohibit the recognition of marriage between minors, if the minors were married in another state while residents of Minnesota.

Current law allows 16- and 17-year-old children to marry “with the consent of the person's legal custodial parents, guardian, or the court.”

The bill now goes to the Senate where Sen. Sandra Pappas (DFL-St. Paul) is the sponsor.

On the House floor, Her noted that she has a personal connection to this issue.

She faced the prospect of an arranged marriage as a teenager. A much older man who saw her only briefly at an event had called her father asking if he could marry her.

Her’s father declined, insisting his daughter would not marry until she graduated from college.

“Had my father not been my advocate, my life outcome would be very different,” Her said.

She said graduating from high school and college would have surely been impossible and that her life would be very limited in several other important ways.

“I would not be here today, standing before you as a state legislator,” she said.

Her cited research showing that marriage involving minors has many debilitating effects, especially on girls marrying older men, which is the most common scenario.

That research, Her said, shows that girls who marry as children are 50 percent more likely to drop out of high school and three times more likely to be beaten by their husbands.

It’s unknown how many minors marry each year in Minnesota because state courts do not keep such records, but Her said an estimated 248,000 children were married in the United States between 2000 and 2010.

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