Louisiana House grapples with minimum age requirement for marriage — with some conservatives pushing for 15 years old
Members of the Louisiana House of Representatives have been grappling with the specifics of a possible new minimum age for marriage in that state, and some Republicans have been fighting efforts to set the age at 17, the Advocate is reporting.
Presently, Louisiana has no minimum age requirement for marriage, although parents must appear at a clerk’s office at the time of the marriage application if at least one of the partners is 16 or 17. Louisiana residents under 16 can legally get married if they have a judge’s approval, but that could change if a new law setting a minimum age for marriage is passed.
Whether the minimum age should be 16 or 17 is something Louisiana House members have been debating. Some Republicans have maintained that 17 would be too high, including Louisiana Rep. Nancy Landry — who argued, “We want children to be born into wedlock, if possible. We’re discouraging that with this. If they’re both 16 or 15 and having a baby, why wouldn’t we want them to get married?”
Similarly, Louisiana State Rep. Valarie Hodges (also a Republican) asserted, “A lot of 16-year-olds get pregnant. Do you feel it’s better for them to not get married at all and for the child to be born illegitimately?”
Another Republican, State Rep. Beryl Amedee, also opposes a minimum age of 17 for marriage and is supported by the fundamentalist Louisiana Family Forum. Amedee explained, “I met my husband when I was 14 and he was 15 — and if it wasn’t for the belief that we should get a high school diploma before we get married, I would have gotten married at 15.”