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For week ended January 31, 1999 Posted 2 Feb 1999
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House raises minimum age for marriage

Summarized by Eileen Bell

House raises minimum age for marriage
(BYU) Daily Universe 26Jan99
By Lorianne Updike: NewsNet Staff Writer

Lawmakers in Utah have passed legislation raising the legal age for marriage from 14 to 16 years of age.

The bill was sponsored by Republican Carl Saunders of Ogden. He says the state needs to take steps to prevent marriages that statistically have a high rate of failure. Stats from BYU indicate that the divorce rate of people married between 14 and 16 years old is over twice as high as among people who marry at 20 or over.

Opponents feel the hike in minimum marrying age could cause some problems. House Majority Whip David Ure says he feels that 14 year olds who want to take responsibility for pregnancies should be allowed to wed. The new law does allow 15 year olds to marry with approval from a court representative. The Eagle Forum lobby group opposes the bill for limiting peoples' choices. Lobbyist Vona Hunsaker says the state is taking the decision away from parents and young teens.

[As previously reported on Mormon-News, the law is in part a response to the polygamy scandal of last year. A recent poll showed that members of the LDS Church generally supported the measure. - Ed.]

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