What Should Louisiana’s Minimum Age Be For Marriage? [OPINION]
Should there be a minimum age requirement to get married?
A bill recently introduced in Louisiana to set a minimum age has been sent to a committee for further study.
Currently, in Louisiana, there is no minimum age set for marriage, though 16- and17-year-olds need parental approval, and those under 16 need a judge to sign off on the marriage.
So, technically, in Louisiana, a 44-year-old woman can marry a 14-year-old boy, with a judge's approval (but, coming from a state in which it was once illegal for a white person to marry an African American, this isn't surprising).
I know some 16-year-olds who are more mature than some 30-year-olds. At 17, it's legal to join the military (with parent's approval). 18-year-olds can't yet purchase alcohol, but they can drink it (???). When it comes to the age of "consent" (sexual), Louisiana's laws are even crazier. According to legalmatch:
A person between the ages of 13 and 15 can consent to have sex with someone who is up to 3 years older than them, but a person between the ages of 15 and 17 may consent to sex only if the other person is 2 years older or less. - legalmatch
According to the Louisiana Department of Health, here is the table of marriages in Louisiana, by age, in 2010:
In 2010, there were 9 registered marriages in Louisiana between a male and female aged 15-17. There were 12 marriages between brides aged 18-19 to grooms aged 15-17. There was one registered marriage between a groom who was aged 40-44 to a bride aged 15-17.
When I was younger, there was a belief that a couple should get married in the case of pregnancy; I wonder how many of the above marriages by people younger than 18 were born of familial pressure? Religious pressure? Societal pressure? And, of those who were "encouraged" to get married due to pregnancy, how long did the marriages last? Is it even legal for parents to force someone to get married??!?
Does Louisiana need laws regulating marriage age? If so, what do you believe should be the minimum age?