Local lawmaker pushes to set marriage age at 18 in South Carolina

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Wedding cake(WDBJ)
Published: May. 3, 2021 at 9:21 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. - A bill that would end marriages for anyone under 18 has taken its first step in the South Carolina Senate.

The state set the minimum age to marry at 16 two years ago.

But advocates of the new bill say it’s time to take the next step by moving the age to 18.

One of those advocates is state Sen. Brad Hutto, a Democrat who represents parts of Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Hampton, and Orangeburg counties.

Sen. Brad Hutto
Sen. Brad Hutto

Hutto, the Senate minority leader, says it’s time to move the age to 18. Hutto says 16- and 17-year-olds are not adults and it doesn’t make sense to allow them to get married. Hutto says 5,400 children got married in South Carolina between 2000 and 2018, and the vast majority of those girls were 16 and 17.

There are only five days left in the current Legislature.

So if the bill doesn’t pass in time, it will remain in place when the 2022 session starts.

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