OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5442

AN ACT CONCERNING THE LEGAL AGE TO MARRY IN THIS STATE.

SUMMARY

This bill (1) prohibits anyone under age 16 from being issued a marriage license under any circumstances and (2) narrows the circumstances in which such a license may be issued to a 16- or 17-year-old.

Under current law, a 16- or 17-year-old may be issued a marriage license if the registrar of vital statistics has on file the written consent of the minor's parent or guardian. If the minor is under age 16, he or she also needs the written consent of the probate judge where he or she resides. (The probate judge's written consent may suffice for a minor's marriage license if no parent or guardian is a U.S. resident.)

Under the bill, an individual under age 16 may not be issued a marriage license. A 16- or 17-year-old may only get a marriage license if he or she, or his or her prospective spouse, is pregnant or a member of the armed forces. In such circumstances, the license application must be accompanied by written consent of (1) the minor, (2) his or her parent or legal guardian, and (3) the probate judge in the district where the minor resides.

As is required for the parent's or guardian's consent under current law, the consents of the minor and parent or guardian under the bill must be signed and acknowledged before a person authorized to take acknowledgments of conveyances in this state or another state or country (e.g., a judge, notary public, justice of the peace, or town clerk).

Under existing law, unchanged by the bill, emancipated minors are treated as adults for marriage purposes and therefore are not subject to these restrictions. (By law, a minor must be at least 16 to be emancipated.)

The bill also makes technical and conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2017

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

32

Nay

7

(03/29/2017)