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Gov. Kasich Could Raise Ohio's Minimum Marriage Age To 18

State of Ohio
Governor's office

Gov. John Kasich is poised to raise Ohio’s minimum marrying age by signing into law a bipartisan bill passed by the General Assembly last week.

The current minimum age for marriage is 18 for males but 16 for females, if their parents allow it. The Dayton Daily News has reported judges also approved exceptions for marriages involving dozens of younger, pregnant teens between 2000 and 2015.

The new legislation would raise the minimum age for everyone to 18. But it would still would let 17-year-olds wed someone up to four years older if a juvenile court approves – and if they wait two weeks.

It also requires documentation of age from anyone seeking a marriage license.

Advocate Jeanne Smoot of the nonprofit Tahirih Justice Center tells the newspaper the bill is a "major step" to guard against abuse and exploitation. The center released a report last year estimating that from 2000-2015, over 200,000 children – mostly girls– were married in the United States. At the time of the report, 25 didn’t set any minimum age for marriage.