Renewed Push To Raise New Hampshire's Marriage Age

Dec 27, 2017

Credit Faith/FLICKR

Next legislative session, New Hampshire lawmakers will again take up the question of how young is too young to get married.

The minimum legal age for marriage in the state right now is 13 for girls and 14 for boys, though at that age the couple would need permission from both a judge and from parents.

Last year, lawmakers attempted to raise the marriage age to 18, but that effort was shot down after some in the New Hampshire House voiced concerns about its impact on young members of the military.

Democrat Jackie Cilley of Barrington is sponsoring legislation this session that would set the marriage age at 16 for both boys and girls. Sixteen also matches the age for sexual consent in New Hampshire.

“We know nationally that the younger a person gets married, the less likely they are to finish even high school, let alone go on to post-secondary. They end up in poverty...the social issues of young marriage are widely known and negative,” says Cilley.

Some religious conservatives are likely to oppose the measure because it could mean more children born out of wedlock.