National advocate opposes Connecticut child marriage bill

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A national advocate for ending child marriage says she opposes a bill that cleared the Connecticut House of Representatives, setting a minimum marriage age of 16 years old.

Fraidy Reiss, founder and executive director of the New Jersey-based nonprofit Unchained at Last, says the bill still puts young people at risk of forced marriage. She prefers the legislation die and that lawmakers try again next year.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday voted unanimously for legislation allowing a parent or guardian to ask a probate court judge to allow a 16- or 17-year-old to get married. The judge would hold a hearing and determine whether the minor’s consent to marry is voluntary and informed.

Reiss says most perpetrators who force children into marriage are parents.

The bill awaits Senate action.

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