Wyoming Legislature

Wyoming House Kills Child-Marriage Bill

in News/politics

A proposal to raise the legal age for marriage in Wyoming to 18 died Friday in the state House.

Representatives voted not to introduce HB 67, sponsored by Rep. Charles Pelkey. D-Laramie.

Pelkey, who unsuccessfully offered a similar bill during the Legislature’s general session last year, said people who marry under the age of 18 face legal limits on what they can do. He also noted domestic violence and divorce rates are often higher among those who marry before the age of 18.

The bill was part of a wider effort seen around the world, Pelkey said.

“What I’m trying to do in Wyoming is to be part of a global effort to put a cap on the age of marriage at at least age 18,” he said. “Even Saudi Arabia right now is trying to take steps to eliminate child marriage.”

But Rep. Hans Hunt, R-Newcastle, said there are often many factors involved when people marry young that the proposal did not take into account.

“I think that reality and life get in the way of what would otherwise, one would hope, be a straightforward, direct situation,” he said. “It’s a more complex set of circumstances, often.”

People in Wyoming can now get married at the age of 16 or younger with court permission.

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