Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed legislation that increases the state’s marriage age to 17.
Under the previous law, 16-year-old girls and 17-year-old boys could get married with the consent of their parents. If the girl was pregnant, a judge could approve a marriage regardless of her age.
The legislation signed Wednesday, April 17, raises the marriage age to 17 regardless of circumstances, and parental consent is still required.
Democratic Rep. Vivian Flowers of Pine Bluff sponsored the bill. She says Department of Health statistics show that more than 8,200 girls and 1,300 boys who were 17 or younger have been married in Arkansas since 1999.
Last year, Delaware became the first state in the U.S. to ban marriage for anyone under 18.