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.]