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Illinois lawmakers look to increase the legal age of marriage

Illinois Capitol (Jordan Elder/WICS)
Illinois Capitol (Jordan Elder/WICS)
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A new bill is looking to raise the legal age to get married in Illinois.

Soon, people under the age of 18 may not be able to walk down the aisle in the Land of Lincoln.

Age 16 is currently the youngest age you can tie the knot in Illinois, but you have to have parental consent.

Lawmakers say this is dangerous because as long as a parent signs off, the son or daughter can't object to that union.

The minimum age of 18 would apply to both parties entering the marriage.

Groups advocating in support of the bill say that more than 7,500 minors were married in Illinois between 2000 and 2018.

"There isn't really an opportunity for a 16 or 17 year old to object, so a parent can go in and sign that consent form and force a son or daughter into marriage," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford. "Most times this is a younger girl."

Versions of this bill have been filed before but have never passed.

Sosnowski says it has bipartisan support this session.

If this bill is passed, Illinois would join six other states with a marriage age requirement of 18.

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The bill would also repeal a section of the current law that states a judge can bypass the parental consent and allow two minors to be married.

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