At first glance, the headline seemed more appropriate for The Onion or another publication specializing in satire: “Momentum builds to end child marriage in Florida.”
After all, why would momentum need to build in order to end a practice so outdated? Haven’t civilized societies and sensible states already prohibited children and teens under 18 from getting married? The answer, it’s hard to believe, is: no.
Childhood marriage isn’t an unconditional right in Florida. There are conditions: For instance, if an applicant for a marriage license is 16 or 17, he or she is entitled to it if both his or her parents — or a legal guardian — consents. The minor doesn’t require consent if his or her parents are deceased or, to show how backward the law is, if the minor was previously married.