NEWS ROOM

Age of Marriage Discussion

February 25, 2019

A number of national organizations have spurred a discussion on whether or not to ban legal marriage for individuals under the age of 18.  Utah is no exception and state Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City introduced a bill for the 2019 State legislative session that would raise minimum age of legal marriage to 18 in Utah.

This week, the bill passed out of committee with an exception for 16 and 17 year old applicants.

A number of questions have been posed to the DCCS about this, the responses of which can be found below.

DCCS Press Response:

Q:  What is the opinion of DCCS on efforts to raise the minimum age for marriage to 18?

A:  The DCCS has not taken a position on the effort.

 

Q:  What does DCCS currently teach about when a person is mature enough and prepared for marriage?

A:  Marriage should be conducted within the legal age of consent. It is a lifelong personal decision and should not be coerced.  An individual should be well informed to make a mature and thoughtful decision before entering into marriage.

   

Q:  Does DCCS give engaged couples any formal instruction on domestic relations or conflict resolution?

A:  The DCCS has not formally given instructions directly to engaged couples, but encourages families to counsel and give support for individuals to make well informed and mature decisions before entering into marriage.

Of DCCS individuals who have been married under the age of 18 in the last 20 years:

               95.1%are still married (contrast 44% of Utah marriages end in divorce ibis.health.utah.gov/indicator/complete_profile/MarDiv.html)

               94.2%have completed High School (USA 89.6%, Utah 91.8%)

               1/3 have completed college degrees from public colleges and universities, most of them women.

 

Q:  Is there any counseling or advice for parents about when they should give their approval to a marriage?

A:  Marriage should be conducted within the legal age of consent. It is a lifelong personal decision and should not be coerced.  An individual should be well informed to make a mature and thoughtful decision before entering into marriage.

 

Q:  Why do some couples from Utah or Idaho opt to get married in Colorado or Nevada?

A:  This is a decision left up to each individual or family. The DCCS has not taken a position on where a couple may choose to marry.

 

Q:  Have DCCS ever tried to mitigate real or perceived pressures young people might feel to get married too soon?

A:  The DCCS reaffirms that each individual has their Free Agency to choose whom and when they will marry.  They should refrain from this decision until they can be well informed to make a mature and thoughtful decision before entering into marriage

 

Q:  Under what circumstances has Paul E. Kingston not sanctioned a marriage?

A:  Decisions are left up to the individuals and families to decide.

 

Q:  How often does he say no?

A:  Marriage is an individual choice, therefore saying yes or no would be up to the individual.

 

Q:  Are there cases where a young person seeks to marry to get away from his or her parents? If so,how do leaders respond to such cases?

A:  Young people are counseled on the importance of marriage and that it is a lifelong commitment.  Individuals should be well informed to make mature and thoughtful decisions in all cases.

Related Articles:

https://fox13now.com/2019/02/25/a-bill-to-ban-child-marriages-in-utah-passes-a-house-committee/

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