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House Passes Bill Establishing Stronger Marriage Consent Rules

Two wedding rings are shown leaning against the other on a table.Roman Motizov/Adobe Stock

A bill establishing stricter statewide marriage consent laws passed the House Wednesday.

House Bill 3018 would establish 18 as the age of consent in the state and remove the ability for minors to obtain consent to marry through their parents or legal guardians. 

Current law allows 16 year olds to get married with parental consent, and judges can sign waivers to allow marriages for those 15 and under.

House Judiciary Chairman Del. Moore Capito, R-Kanawha, explained the bill on the House floor.

“It does not affect any legal marriage that is in place in this state,” Capito said. “Existing as of now, it would also not alter a marriage of somebody of a different age that was legally entered into in a state where that was legal.”

Del. Keith Marple, R-Harrison, was the sole lawmaker to speak to the bill during its consideration on the floor. He opposed it saying not all families’ situations are the same. He said changing the age of consent will cause more hardship for minors who can still get married out of state, if they wish to do so.

“If you have consenting parents, who agree that these children under 18 should get married, and they’re going to help them and they’re going to be loving, and if the issue is pregnancy, you’re going to have two sets of grandparents who are going to look after these children and help,” Marple said.

The bill passed the House 84 to 13, with three members absent. It’s now on its way to the Senate.