KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska lawmaker is seeking to change the state law that allows a person as young as 14 to marry.
State Sen. Berta Gardner is planning to introduce legislation to increase the legal age of marriage to 18 in Alaska, the Ketchikan Daily News reported.
The Democratic senator’s legislation would also allow emancipated minors above the age of 16 to marry.
Under current state law, a person between the age of 14 and 18 can marry with permission from a superior court judge. After a hearing with the parents and the minor, the judge may grant permission if the “marriage is in the best interest of the minor,” according to the state law.
“I was shocked that girls under 18 — and even under 16 — can get married in Alaska because they really are just girls,” Gardner said. “They can’t rent an apartment, they can’t make a doctor’s appointment, they can’t open up a bank account, but they can get married? And even though the numbers of it actually happening here are really small, it’s still wrong in my view.”