Amelia Wade in NZ Herald reports:
Almost 800 girls under 18 were married in New Zealand in the past decade, and women’s rights activists believe a number of those marriages were against the will of the brides.
It is not illegal for 16 and 17-year-olds to marry with parental consent but activists suggest a number of those marriages are forced by the parents.
I wonder how many 16 and 17 year olds boys got married?
National MP Jackie Blue has drafted a private member’s bill which she hopes would help provide extra support for young women under pressure to marry.
Dr Blue’s bill would make it illegal for anyone under 18 years old to wed without first formalising their consent before a Family Court judge.
“I believe the majority of marriages under 18 are fine and above board, but this would just give an extra level of protection for those who are being forced to do it against their will,” she said.
This seems a good bill to me. I can’t imagine what harm is done by requiring a 16 year old to either wait until they are 18 before they marry – or having a judge ensure the bride is a willing participant.