Idaho legislators rejected a bill that would have blocked marriage for youth under age 16 in the state, The Idaho Statesman reported.
The bill, proposed, by Democratic Representative Melissa Wintrow, aimed to prevent children under 16 from getting married and would require consent of the child, parents and a court before a marriage. Current state law allows children younger than 16-years-old to get married with parental and judicial consent, and teens who are 16 and older to get married with only parental consent.
The GOP-controlled House of Representatives voted against the legislation in a 39-28 vote on Thursday.
Advocacy group Unchained at Last released a report last year that noted from 2000 to 2010, Idaho had the highest rate of child marriage of the 38 states that released data. During the decade tracked, 4,080 children in Idaho had marriages.
“I do not think courts should be involved in marriage at all,” Republican representative Bryan Zollinger said. “I don’t believe there should be a license required to get married. I think two willing people should be able to go and get married.”
Republican Representative Christy Zito mentioned abortion, which is legal in Idaho before age 18 with approval from a parent or judge, when discussing the vote.
“It will then become easier in the state of Idaho to obtain an abortion at 15-and-a-half years old than it will to decide to form a family,” Zito said, according to Boise State Public Radio. Read more