ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - Minnesota lawmakers unveiled the “End Child Marriage” bill to eliminate a loophole that allows for marriages by minors in the state.
While Minnesota's age of consent to marry is 18, the new legislation will prevent minors aged 16 and 17 to be married with parental consent and judicial approval.
Officials say parental “consent” is often parental “coercion,” and statistics show children forced into marriage face huge barriers in leaving the situation later in life.
"As adults, we are the ones who know better and so we should do better to protect our children," State Representative Kaohly Her said. "And it is universally affective stunting childhoods, and exposing minors to abuse, poverty, life-long physical and mental health challenges."
Several survivors also shared their personal stories at the press conference. U.S. Census data estimates that, as of 2014, more than 1,100 children living in Minnesota had already been married.