PA CATHOLIC CONFERENCE APPLAUDS HOUSE PASSAGE OF MARRIAGE ACT
HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference applauds today’s passage of House Bill 360, which, in addition to addressing some covid-19 related concerns, establishes 18 as the minimum age for marriage in Pennsylvania. The bill has been supported by the PCC since its inception, particularly as a means to help fight human trafficking.
“This is good legislation for a number of reasons—first and foremost that it will help to end a problem in the law that has allowed girls as young as 12 to be married in PA,” said PCC Executive Director Eric Failing. “This can place them in a dangerous situation where they can be victims of domestic violence and exploited in sex trafficking. Advocates believe there are over 2,000 children who have been married in Pennsylvania.”
The PCC has supported several measures designed to fight human trafficking, including the Safe-Harbor law that passed last session and the Buyer Beware act that passed earlier this session.
Failing thanked the sponsor of the bill, Sen. Jesse Topper (R-Bedford, Franklin, Fulton) for his leadership and persistence on seeing the bill through.
Pennsylvania is one of 27 states that do not have a minimum age to marry. Currently, the state permits a minor under age 16 to marry with parental consent and a court determination that the marriage is in the best interest of the minor. The law also permits a 16 or 17 year old to marry with only parental consent.
The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference is based in Harrisburg and is the public affairs arm of Pennsylvania’s Catholic bishops