Alaska House passes bill to end marriage for 14-15 year olds

The columns of the alaska state capitol
The Alaska State Capitol building in Juneau, pictured in Feb. 2017. (KTOO file photo)

The Alaska House passed legislation Wednesday that would repeal a provision of law that allows a court to grant permission for someone as young as 14 to marry.

The repeal provision was adopted last week as representatives weighed amendments to a bill dealing with witness requirements for marriage. A vote on the bill was not taken until Wednesday, when it passed 27-13. The measure next goes to the Senate for consideration.

The bill repeals a section of law that spells out a process under which a court can grant permission for someone as young as 14-years-old to marry. It leaves in place another provision of law that allows for 16- and 17-year-olds to marry with parental consent.

The latest annual report from the state health department’s vital records section shows there were no marriages involving individuals younger than 15 between 2016 and 2020 in Alaska. It is unclear from the report how many or if any 15 year olds had married during that period since the report shows age ranges. It shows there were 1,672 marriages involving a partner between the ages of 15 and 19 between 2016-2020.

According to Unchained At Last, a group that seeks to end forced and child marriage, six states have set 18 as the minimum age for marriage.

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