The New Hampshire House killed a bill Thursday that would have raised the minimum legal age of marriage to 18 years, from the current ages of 14 for males and 13 for females.
At the start of Thursday’s session, this bill looked in good shape to pass. After all, it had received the unanimous backing of the House Committee on Children and Family Law, and bill supporters said it seemed commonsense that minors lack the maturity to enter into marriage.
But Republican Jim Spillane of Deerfield – argued it would hurt young veterans and their families.
“They would not be able to get married before he deployed – they would not get benefits. And unfortunately if he was somehow injured or hurt when he was deployed that child would be left without a child and without benefits,” Spillane told lawmakers on the House floor.
Spillane called to indefinitely postpone the bill; the motion carried 179 to 168 – meaning it cannot be acted upon for two years.
There have been 88 marriages involving minors in New Hampshire over the past decade.