Utah Legislature passes bill to raise the age for marriage

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A bill passed through the Utah Legislature which will ban marriage for 15-year-olds and require permission from parents and a court for anyone under 18.

HB234 passed in the Senate with a 22-2 vote. Sen. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi, and Sen. Gregg Buxton, R-Roy, were the only two to vote against the bill. It previously passed the House 55-6 and will now go to the Governor.

Senate Minority Whip Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, is the Senate sponsor for the bill. She said it is an important bill and sends the right message.

“When we talk about the sanctity of marriage and what it means, it’s a child entering into this very important contractual agreement. … I think a 15-year-old is not ready to make that commitment,” Escamilla said.

Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, voiced concerns with the bill. He said if a girl is 15 and pregnant and wants to marry her boyfriend it could be beneficial, saying some might start living together and not get married after they turn 16.

“Marriage may be the best answer for stability and even for health insurance and other coverage,” Hillyard said.

Escamilla disagreed saying they would be covered under their parents’ insurance and the number of people requesting marriage at 15 is very low.

HB234 is sponsored by House Minority Assistant Whip Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City. Originally the bill raised the minimum age from 15 to 18 and was amended in a House committee.

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