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Connecticut News

Child Marriage Prevention Bill Passes Through Committee

The Connecticut State Capitol Building in Hartford

A bill aimed at preventing child marriage in Connecticut made it through a key legislative committee on Wednesday.

Current Connecticut law has the legal age to marry at 18. But there are some exceptions. Individuals 16- and 17-years-old can marry if they obtain their parent’s permission. And those 15-years-old and younger can marry if they obtain approval from a probate judge as a well as a parent.

That does not sit well with State Representative Rosa Rebimbas, a Naugatuck Republican. She is one of an overwhelming majority in the Judiciary Committee who voted in support of a stricter bill. Rebimbas says she and her colleagues were touched by the stories of victims and survivors of child marriage who testified before the committee.

“That’s one of the reasons why we also made sure, which is a new caveat in there, that the minor actually wishes to be wed. Because through the testimony that we heard, the minors after some objection, whether emotionally or verbally, were still being forced by their parents to get married.”

Advocates for the stricter law say more than 1,100 children under 18 were married in Connecticut between 2000 and 2014. Connecticut is one of several states including neighboring New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey considering bills to limit child marriage this year.

The bill now goes to the House and Senate for action.