A bill filed Monday in the Florida Senate would ban the issuance of marriage licenses to anyone under age 18.
Senate Rules Chairwoman Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, and Majority Leader Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, filed the bill (SB 140) for consideration during the 2018 legislative session, which will start in January.
Under current law, marriage licenses can be issued to 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds if their parents or guardians consent. Also, marriage licenses can be issued to minors when they have children or are pregnant.
“We have seen girls as young as 11 years old forced to marry adults who have taken advantage of them, and that practice must be ended as soon as possible,” Benacquisto said in a prepared statement Monday. “I'm proud to work with Leader Simpson on important legislation that will end the act of children being forced into marriages in Florida.”