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Published: Tuesday, May. 17th, 2022

Alaska considers new limits on the marriage of minors, updates to witness requirements

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Legislators in Alaska are considering legislation that would place new limits on child marriages in the state, and reduce the number of witnesses required at a marriage ceremony. 

 

House Bill 62 would raise the legal minimum age to marry from 14 to 16 years old, and make it illegal for a minor between the ages of 16 and 18 to marry someone more than 3 years older, offering additional safeguards against child exploitation in the state. 

 

Currently, children as young as 14 can marry an individual of any age if they have the permission of a superior judge and their legal guardian. (§ 25.05.171)

 

The bill also seeks to lower the state’s marriage witness requirement from two witnesses to one witness. Proponents of the measure say that this change makes the marriage process easier for couples, and would allow Alaska “to better compete with popular destination wedding states such as Hawaii and Florida.” (AKHouse.org)

 

HB 62, which is sponsored by Rep. Matt Claman (D-Anchorage), passed the House on March 16th and was submitted to the Senate’s standing Rules Committee on May 15th. 

 

If passed, Alaska would join a growing number of states that have recently changed or reexamined their laws relating to child marriages. Most recently, Maryland banned marriage for minors under the age of 17 in April.

 

Other states that have recently revised their marriage laws to limit child marriages include North Carolina, which raised the minimum age to marry to 16 back in August 2021, and New York and Rhode Island, which outlawed all marriages involving individuals under 18 years of age. 

 


Learn more about the legal age of consent to marry in your state here. 

 

 

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