Jefferson City, MO (KTRS) A soon to be state lawmaker wants to raise the marriage age requirement in Missouri.
Representative-Elect Jean Evans filed her first piece of legislation, HB 270, which calls for raising the minimum age to get a marriage license with parental consent to 17. The current law individuals from the age of 15 to 17 to get a license with parental consent. Missouri currently has a minimum age of 18 to obtain a marriage license without parental consent.
Evans says her goal is to prevent child marriages that are used to disguise abusive situations and human trafficking. The Republican noted that Virginia recently raised its minimum age requirement after seeing a large number of underage girls marry men who were far older. Evans hopes to see Missouri follow suit to protect children from forced marriages.
“It’s illegal for an adult to have sexual contact with a child, but our laws have a loophole that allows these abusers to marry their victims and get away with the crime,” said Evans “It’s time to close the loophole so we can protect our young people from those who would exploit and harm them.” added Evans.
Evans filed her bill during the pre-filing period that began December 1st. Her colleagues will consider the bill when the 2017 legislative session officially begins January 4th.