New Bill Would Outlaw Child Marriage in Florida

In Florida, you can get married if you're a 13-year-old who accidentally knocks up his girlfriend, but not if you're in a committed adult relationship with someone of the same sex. Rep. Cynthia Stafford, a Miami Democrat, wants to change that. No, not the part about allowing gays to marry, just the minors getting married part. She has introduced a new bill that would make it illegal for anyone under the age of 16 to get married in Florida under any circumstance.

See also: Eight More Couples Sue Florida to Recognize Gay Marriages From Other States

Currently, those under 16 are allowed to tie the knot if they're expecting or already have a child together if they get parental approval and permission from a court. Exceptions are made if the child's parents are dead or if they've already been married.

Stafford's bill unanimously passed the Civil Justice Subcommittee yesterday. She mentioned that a 13-year-old boy married in Florida in 2012.

"I have a hard time wrapping my head around that," Stafford told the Sun-Sentinel. "Here we have a 13-year-old still going through puberty, who now is a husband because, apparently, he made a baby. I just don't think that should be the policy of this state."

Stafford also mentioned a book written by a Florida woman who was raped and impregnated at 10 years old in 1972 and forced to marry her 20-year-old rapist when she was 11.

There were about 110 marriages involving those 16 or younger in Florida in 2012, and 150 in 2013. However, it wasn't clear how many marriages involved those 15 and younger.

Unchanged would be a law that allows 16- and 17-year-olds to marry under any circumstances as long as they have parental consent.

Send your story tips to the author, Kyle Munzenrieder.

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