Ohio Senate passes youth marriage bill

(Columbus) - Today, the Ohio Senate unanimously passed a bill to increase the age of marriage in Ohio to 18, with some exceptions, House Bill 511.

“It’s incredibly important that we finally updated this outdated law which doesn’t align with 21st-century values. And the passage of this legislation is a step in the right direction,” said Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights). “Most people are shocked to learn that children as young as 14 are getting married in Ohio. This often leads to emotional trauma, fewer educational opportunities and increased risk of abuse. We have a duty to enact this law and protect our children.”

Current Ohio law allows 16-year-old girls and 18-year-old boys to marry. 

However, younger children of any age are allowed to marry with parental and juvenile court permission.

Senator Yuko introduced a similar bill in the current Ohio General Assembly, Senate Bill 198. 

Yuko’s bill would have banned marriages under 18 without exception.Unlike SB 198, HB 511 includes an exception to allow 17-year-olds to marry if they obtain juvenile court consent, if their partner is no more than four years older and if they complete a 14-day waiting period. 

The bill now goes to Governor Kasich for his signature.

(Photo by Ken Robinson/WTAM)

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