CONCORD — The New Hampshire House voted Wednesday to raise the age for marriage in the state to 18 in an effort that supporters say could keep more girls in school and reduce the risk of domestic violence.
The vote to end the practice of child marriage was approved by a vote of 207 to 132. If passed into law, New Hampshire would join Delaware and New Jersey, which last year banned marriage for anyone under 18.
“We already have the tools available to empower the children. We just have to use them,” Rep. Cassandra Levesque, a Democrat from Barrington and the primary sponsor of the legislation, told lawmakers. Two years ago, a law that Levesque championed increased the marriage age to 16, up from 13 for girls and 14 for boys.
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Number of Women and Girls At Risk: 25,000
Status: Existing Legislation Needs Strengthening
Improve by adding: Prosecuting parents/guardian, felony offense