New Hampshire Child Marriage Bill, Know Everything About Bill

New Hampshire House members on Thursday made history when they approved legislation that seeks to end child marriage entirely in New Hampshire. Championed by Senator Debra Altschiller from Stratham and setting minimum marriage age at 18 years, this vote came following its passage through Senate which unanimously approved it back in March; vote was divided in House with 194 supporters to 174 opponents (192 votes to 1 vote difference).

How Has Marriage Changed Legally in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire is no stranger to revisiting their legal marriage age; last year Governor Chris Sununu signed legislation raising it from 13-14 for girls and 14 for boys, depending on parental and court approval. This latest effort at reform ties into previous reform efforts while more closely aligning to modern standards of child protection and rights.

Who Are Behind This Legislative Push?

Rep. Cassandra Levesque of Barrington has become an indispensable player in New Hampshire’s fight against child marriage. When Levesque first advocated for raising the marriage age in 2018, as both a senior at Dover High School and Girl Scout she took an active part in raising it – eventually becoming one of seven co-sponsors on this current bill. Levesque began as part of an initiative known as Youth Activism Project but since has taken an integral part in legislative changes through her role.

What Are the Justifications for This Change?

Rep. Levesque highlighted the disturbing consequences of child marriage during House floor discussions. Her research indicates it often leads to devastating results like human trafficking, domestic violence and abuse; economically they face severe disadvantages often leading to worse health outcomes; educationally these individuals tend to drop out more quickly from high school than usual and four times less likely to complete college degrees than expected.

What impact could this Bill Have?

New Hampshire would join an increasing list of states by adopting this legislation and setting 18 as the minimum age for marriage without exceptions, potentially decreasing negative effects associated with early marriages and providing youth more time and freedom before entering adulthood and marriage contracts. With no possibility for legal marriage before adulthood and thus no way of exploiting these children before adulthood has arrived. This law hopes to protect youth against exploitation while offering them greater chances for education and personal development before entering marriage contracts.

What Are My Critiques or Challenges?

As both houses passed the bill, however, it has faced substantial opposition. Many critics contend that marriage at an earlier age should only be permissible under specific conditions such as parental approval; any strict age limits might restrict personal freedoms while disregarding cultural or individual considerations that might warrant younger marriages.

New Hampshire’s debate surrounding child marriage mirrors an ongoing national dialogue about minors’ rights and our collective duty to safeguard them. As this bill moves closer to becoming law, its passage demonstrates both traditional practices as well as new legal standards intended to safeguard young individuals’ welfare. If passed into law this could mark an important landmark in New Hampshire legal history that sets precedents for similar reform efforts elsewhere in the nation.

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