Missouri House votes for restrictions on child marriages

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – The Missouri House has passed a bill that would require teenagers to be older before they could get married without permission from a judge.

House members voted 139-1 Thursday to send the measure to the Senate.

Under current law, children ages 15-17 can get married with permission from a parent, and those younger than 15 need approval from a judge.

A bill by Republican Rep. Jean Evans would still allow 17 year olds to get married with parental permission, but those younger than that would need a judge’s approval following a court hearing. The bill also would ban marriages if one partner is at least 21 years old and the other is younger than 17.

Evans says she wants to prevent child marriages used to disguise abuse and human trafficking.

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