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Connecticut becomes 9th state to ban child marriage, raises age to marry to 18 without exceptions

Published Monday, Jun. 26th, 2023

Photo: Jake Pierrelee / Unsplash

Connecticut outlawed the marriage of minors on Friday, becoming the ninth U.S. state to do so. 


The legislation (HB06569) was signed by acting governor Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, who has stepped in while Gov. Lamont is away on vacation.


Under the revised law, no one may purchase a marriage license in Connecticut if they are under the age of 18, including emancipated minors. This change becomes effective on July 1, 2023.


Previously, children between the ages of 16 and 18 years old could marry in the state if they were legally emancipated, or with permission from the Probate Court following a petition and hearing attended by their legal guardians or parents. 


Effective July 1st, the amended statute reads: 


General Statutes of Connecticut
§ 46b-20a Eligibility to marry. 


A person is eligible to marry if such person is:


(1) Not a party to another marriage, or a relationship that provides substantially the same rights, benefits and responsibilities as a marriage, entered into in this state or another state or jurisdiction, unless the parties to the marriage will be the same as the parties to such other relationship;
(2) At least eighteen years of age;
(3) Except as provided in section 46b-29, not under the supervision or control of a conservator; and
(4) Not prohibited from entering into a marriage pursuant to section 46b-21.


Read all Connecticut Marriage Laws here

Other states that have banned all marriages involving a party under 18 years old include Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Two U.S. territories – American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands – prohibit the marriage of minors, as well. 


In most states, children can get married if they meet certain requirements – such as obtaining written permission from a parent, guardian, or judge; completing an interview process; or marrying a spouse no more than 2 to 4 years their senior. Some states have no minimum age at which a child can be married (such as California or Texas), while others specify some limitations, such as requiring children to be at least 15 or 16 years old. 


Related: How Old Do You Have To Be To Get Married In Each State?


However, child advocates have been speaking out against the marriage of minors in recent years, pointing out numerous negative consequences that these marriages can have on children. In response to this increased awareness, a growing list of states are reconsidering and revising their marriage laws. For example,in West Virginia and Wyoming, age requirements were raised to 16 years old (previously there was no minimum age in either state).






What do AMM Ministers need to know about this changing law? 


This change will not impact AMM Ministers who officiate weddings in Connecticut, or how they officiate weddings there. 


Once signed, the amended law will raise age requirements to apply for a marriage license in Connecticut. It is a couple's responsibility to apply for their marriage license. CT marriage licenses are issued by a clerk at the vital records office in the town where the marriage will take place. This clerk will ask each applicant for proof of their age and any other necessary documents.


Officiants should always check in with a couple to ensure they’ve applied for, or will apply for, a marriage license before the wedding date. The day of the wedding, Officiants should ask the couple to present their marriage license before they perform the marriage ceremony. Learn more by clicking the link below. 






Get Ordained Online & Officiate Weddings! 


Read How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Connecticut


Conviértete en un Oficiante de Bodas en Connecticut


Friends and family members can perform legal weddings in Connecticut if they've been ordained online. Ordination with American Marriage Ministries is inclusive, free, easy, and fast. Click the link below to get started and learn how to officiate weddings today. 






Read Next:


Connecticut legislators vote on removing race designation from marriage license

How Old Do You Have To Be To Get Married In Each State?


How to Get Married in Connecticut - Planning a Wedding in the Constitution State



Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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