Kentucky lawmakers are working to end child marriage in the Commonwealth.
The so-called “child bride bill” unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday and now goes to the Senate.
Currently, 16- and 17-year-olds in Kentucky can get married with their parent’s permission. Teens under 16 can get married with a judge’s permission in the case of a pregnancy.
Senate Bill 48, which is sponsored by State Senator Julie Adams, sets the minimum age to get married in Kentucky at 18. It also establishes court power to void a marriage under the age of 17 under certain conditions.
The bill has run into opposition from some groups who claim it undermines parental rights.
A provision in the bill allows 17-year-olds to petition the courts to approve a marriage.
The court will be able to deny the petition if:
- The parties’ age difference is more than four years
- Intended spouse is in a position of authority or special trust over the minor
- Intended spouse has been convicted of a sexual offense or an offense against a minor
- Intended spouse has been subject to a protective order
Eyewitness News reached out to St. Sen. Dorsey Ridley who serves Kentucky’s fourth district. He stated –
“This probably will move Kentucky to the forefront in combating harms from a child marriage.”
The bill is set to be heard on the Senate floor Wednesday. Sen. Ridley feels it will pass.
(This story was originally published on March 6, 2018)