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Missouri bill would toughen child marriage law

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Legislature has voted to prevent anyone younger than 16 from being married.

House lawmakers voted 135-3 Friday to pass the bill.

The legislation would also require 16 and 17-year-olds to have a parent’s permission to be married, and would bar anyone 21 or older from marrying anyone under 18.

The bill also removes the statute of limitations for sex crimes against children, and provides a way for people convicted of less-serious sex crimes to be removed from the sex offender registry.

Proponents say changing the marriage age will help prevent human trafficking.