A California state senator is trying to ban child marriage in his state, but he has run into opposition from groups including Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Although the age of consent in California is 18, children can legally marry at any age regardless of the age of their spouse, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Democratic state Sen. Jerry Hill set out to fix that fact, proposing legislation to set the marriage age at 18.
But Hill's bill is now trapped in legislative limbo by unexpected opposition. While it is still moving through committee, SB273 has had its age restrictions removed by amendment. Instead, they have been substituted with increased oversight requirements for judges to establish that child marriages are not coerced.
Hill is one of several state legislators pushing for reform of state marriage laws. Last month, New York state passed a law limiting under-18 marriage to only 16- or 17-year-olds who had been legally emancipated. Texas passed a similar law setting the line at 17, and then with a judge's permission.
Advocates of the bill include Sara Tasneem, who was forced at the age of 15 to marry a 28-year-old in her father's cult. Six months later she was pregnant.