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Washington’s State Legislature Passes a Bill to Stop Child Marriages!


CNS NewsIn a significant legislative move, both chambers of the Washington State Legislature have approved a bill aimed at outlawing child marriages. The bill, known as HB 1455, sets the legal age for marriage at 18, effectively closing loopholes that have permitted minors to wed under certain circumstances.

Under the current law, individuals as young as 17 can obtain a marriage license with parental or judicial consent. However, critics argue that this system leaves minors vulnerable to coercion and exploitation. The new legislation renders any marriage involving individuals under 18 void, regardless of parental or judicial approval.

It also eliminates the option for 17-year-olds to marry with parental consent, marking a decisive step towards safeguarding vulnerable youth. Supporters of the bill emphasize the importance of protecting minors, particularly young girls, from forced marriages and the associated physical, emotional, and financial repercussions.

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By closing legal loopholes, lawmakers aim to prevent child marriages from being used as a tool to circumvent laws against abuse and exploitation. While some voices of opposition suggest that individuals should have the freedom to choose whom they marry regardless of age, proponents assert that the well-being and safety of minors should take precedence. The bill now awaits the signature of Governor Jay Inslee and is set to take effect on June 6, applying to marriages on that date and thereafter.

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