Conservative Republicans in Louisiana this week shot down legislation aimed at setting a minimum age requirement marriage in their state, as they argued that some 15 and 16-year-olds should have the right to get married.
NOLA.com reports that conservatives in Louisiana’s state legislature have rejected setting hard minimum age requirements for marriage, and instead voted to continue the current policy of allowing people under 18 to get married with parental consent. Additionally, the law would require some sort of judicial process for anyone under the age of 16 to get married.
Rep. Nancy Landry, a Lafayette Republican, said she did not want to have a minimum age for getting married, because she thinks marriage is the right choice for young people who are already sexually active.
“If they’re both 16 years old, and they both consent to sexual relations, and they’re about to have a baby, why wouldn’t we want them to be married?” she asked. “It’s really disturbing to me, because a lot of 16-year-olds are very mature.”
Not every Republican shared Landry’s view, however. The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that GOP Rep. Stephanie Hilferty supports setting the minimum age for marriage at 17, which she believes would provide less cover for sexual predators and human traffickers to have their abuse of underage girls legally sanctioned by the state.
“This is to make sure we don’t have people covering up acts of rape as a marriage,” she explained. “This is a child protection issue.”