Legal age for marriage; emancipation petitions for minors intending to marry, etc. (HB703)

Introduced By

Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) with support from co-patron Del. Chris Peace (R-Mechanicsville)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Legal age for marriage; 18 years of age. Provides that both parties to a marriage must be 18 years of age or older or emancipated at the time of solemnization by removing exceptions that allow marriage at a minimum age of 16 with the consent of the parent or guardian or younger than 16 in the case of pregnancy and with the consent of the parent or guardian and provides that marriages entered into in violation of this law are voidable. The bill provides a process by which a minor may register a foreign emancipation order in the Commonwealth. The bill also allows a party who was under the age of 18 at the time of the marriage to petition the court for affirmation of the marriage once he has reached the age of 18. The bill further provides that a person who (i) marries a person under the age of 18 or causes a person under the age of 18 to be married or (ii) knowingly removes or causes the removal of a person under the age of 18 from the Commonwealth for the purposes of marriage shall be confined for up to six months in jail or fined up to $500. There is an affirmative defense to prosecution that the person being prosecuted was under the age of 18 at the time of the marriage or compelled by force, threat, persuasion, menace, or duress to marry against his will. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Passed

History

DateAction
01/11/2016Committee
01/11/2016Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/13/16 16101766D
01/11/2016Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/14/2016Assigned to sub: Subcommittee Civil Law
01/14/2016Assigned App. sub: Subcommittee Civil Law
01/14/2016Assigned Courts sub:
02/03/2016Subcommittee recommends reporting with amendment(s) (6-Y 2-N)
02/10/2016Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (19-Y 3-N) (see vote tally)
02/10/2016Committee substitute printed 16105169D-H1
02/12/2016Read first time
02/15/2016Read second time
02/15/2016Committee substitute agreed to 16105169D-H1
02/15/2016Engrossed by House - committee substitute HB703H1
02/16/2016Read third time and passed House (66-Y 33-N)
02/16/2016VOTE: PASSAGE (66-Y 33-N) (see vote tally)
02/17/2016Constitutional reading dispensed
02/17/2016Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
02/29/2016Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (10-Y 4-N) (see vote tally)
02/29/2016Committee substitute printed 16105553D-S1
03/01/2016Constitutional reading dispensed (38-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
03/02/2016Read third time
03/02/2016Reading of substitute waived
03/02/2016Committee substitute agreed to 16105553D-S1
03/02/2016Passed by for the day
03/03/2016Read third time
03/03/2016Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute HB703S1
03/03/2016Passed Senate with substitute (33-Y 7-N) (see vote tally)
03/03/2016Reconsideration of Senate passage agreed to by Senate (37-Y 3-N) (see vote tally)
03/03/2016Passed Senate with substitute (32-Y 8-N) (see vote tally)
03/04/2016Placed on Calendar
03/07/2016Senate substitute agreed to by House 16105553D-S1 (66-Y 30-N)
03/07/2016VOTE: ADOPTION (66-Y 30-N) (see vote tally)
03/08/2016Enrolled
03/08/2016Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB703ER)
03/08/2016Signed by Speaker
03/10/2016Signed by President
03/11/2016G Governor's Action Deadline Midnight, Monday, April 11, 2016
03/11/2016Enrolled Bill communicated to Governor on 3/11/16
03/11/2016G Governor's Action Deadline Midnight, Sunday, April 10, 2016
03/11/2016G Approved by Governor-Chapter 457 (effective 7/1/16)
03/23/2016G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0457)

Video

This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 5 clips in all, totaling 20 minutes.

Transcript

This is a transcript of the video clips in which this bill is discussed.

ANOTHER, RELATING TO LEGAL AGE FOR MARRIAGE. PENALTY. REPORTED FROM THE COMMITTEE OF COURTS AND JUSTICE WITH A SUBSTITUTE.

Del. Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg): THE GENTLEWOMAN FROM RICHMOND CITY.

[Unknown]: THANK YOU, ARE MR. SPEAKER. I MOVE THE COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE.

Del. Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg): THE QUESTION IS ON ADOPTION FELT COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE. AS MANY AS FAVOR THAT MOTION WILL SAY AYE; THOSE OPPOSED, NO. THE SUBSTITUTE IS AGREED TO. THE GENTLEWOMAN FROM RICHMOND CITY.

[Unknown]: HOUSE BILL 7032 WOULD SAY THAT BOTH PARTIES TO A MARRIAGE MUST BE 18 YEARS OF AGE UNLESS THEY ARE EMANCIPATED. THE BILL ALSO PROVIDES A NEW GROUNDS FOR EMANCIPATION, IF A CHILD INTENDS TO ENTER INTO A MARRIAGE AND AS PART OF THAT, THERE ARE FINDINGS THAT THE COURT MUST MAKE TO ENSURE THAT THE MARRIAGE IS NOT -- THAT THE MARRIAGE IS CONSISTENT WITH THE CHILD'S WILL. THE ISSUE THAT WE'RE TRYING TO SOLVE HERE, THERE WAS A STUDY DONE OF CHILD MARRIAGES IN VIRGINIA OVER 10 YEARS. IT HAD SOME PRETTY DISTURBING RESULTS. AND PART OF WHAT AN ORGANIZATION THAT HAS BEEN DEALING WITH DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVORS FOUND WAS A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF CHILDREN WHO HAD BEEN FORCED INTO MARRIAGE, COERCED INTO MARRIAGE, IN SOME CASES BY THEIR PARENTS, IN SOME CASES WITH THEIR PARENTS' KNOWLEDGE. WE ALREADY MAKE SEX WITH A CHILD UNDER 18 ILLEGAL. THE STAGE OF ILLEGALITY DEPENDS ON THE AGE OF THE CHILD. BUT WHAT BILL DOES IS ENSURE THERE ARE PROTECTIONS IN PLACE SO THAT WHEN A CHILD DOES WANT TO GET MARRIED, THEY CAN DO SO, THEY CAN BE EMANCIPATED, AND THEN THEY CAN HAVE ALL THE PROTECTIONS UNDER THE LAWS OF AN ADULT INCLUDING TO GET A PROTECTIVE ORDER IF THEY NEED TO, WHICH WITHOUT THIS BILL, THEY COULD NOT. I'D ASK THAT YOU ENGROSSES THE BILL AND PASS IT TO ITS THIRD READING. MR. SPEAKER?

Del. Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg): THE GENTLEMAN FROM SUFFOLK.

[Unknown]: WILL THE GENTLELADY YIELD FOR A QUESTION? I YIELD. MR. SPEAKER, I'VE ASKED THE GENTLELADY IF SHE CAN CITE ANY SPECIFICATIONS IN VIRGINIA OF THE FORCED MARRIAGES OF THE MINORS, THAT IT HAS OCCURRED, AND IF SO, THIS SPECIFIC NUMBER. I DON'T HAVE WITH ME THE SPECIFIC NUMBER, BUT I DO HAVE -- I CAN READ YOU THE STORY OF A PARTICULAR CLIENT WHO GAVE PERMISSION FOR HER STORY TO BE SHARED, IF THE GENTLEMAN WOULD LIKE TO HEAR, THIS WAS A 17-YEAR-OLD WHO HAD SUFFERED YEARS OF EMOTIONAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL ABUSE AT THE HANDS OF HER FAMILY IN AN EFFORT TO GET HER TO AGREE TO MARRY AN OLDER MAN THAT SHE BARELY KNEW, HAD NOT CHOSEN FOR HERSELF, AT A TIME IN LIFE WHEN SHE ONLY WANTED TO FOCUS ON SCHOOL AND A WIDE OPEN FUTURE RATHER THAN MARRIAGE TO A MAN SHE DIDN'T KNOW. CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES TRIED TO INTERVENE BUT THEY COULDN'T. SHE KEPT TRYING TO CRY OUT FOR HELP BUT SHE COULDN'T GET A PROTECTIVE ORDER BECAUSE SHE WAS UNDER AGE. AND WHEN SHE WENT TO THE COURTHOUSE, SHE HOPED THAT THERE WOULD BE LAST MINUTE INTERVENTION. SHE EVEN MADE SURE THAT SHE STOOD WITH A STANCE THAT MADE CLEAR SHE DIDN'T WANT TO BE THERE, BUT SHE HAD NO CHOICE AND SHE SAID, I HAD NO CHOICE, I COULD NOT DO ANYTHING. AND AFTER SUFFERING FROM ABUSE FROM BOTH HER PARENTS AND THEN HER HUSBAND, ONCE SHE BECAME AN ADULT, SHE MADE HER WAY THROUGH THE HIGHER JUSTICE CENTER AND WAS ABLE TO GET OUT OF THAT SITUATION. SO THAT'S AT LEAST ONE EXAMPLE I CAN GIVE YOU. THERE ARE OTHERS. THAT'S THE ONLY ONE I HAVE PERMISSION. WOULD THE GENTLELADY FOR ANOTHER QUESTION? THIS WOULD BE A QUESTION OF A COUPLE OF DIFFERENT PARTS. ON LINE 39 OF THE BILL, IT STATES THAT THE JUDGE SHALL DETERMINE THAT THE MINOR IS NOT COMPELLED BY PERSUASION OR MEN MEN -- MENACE, I'D LIKE TO KNOW THE LEGAL STANDARD. ON LINE 40 IT STATES THE JUDGE WILL DETERMINE IF THE MINOR IS MATURE ENOUGH TO GET MARRIED. I'D LIKE TO TO KNOW THE LEGAL STANDARD OF "MATURE ENOUGH". ON LINE 46, IT STATES THAT THE JUDGE SHALL DETERMINE THE BEST INTEREST OF THE MINOR TO GET MARRIED AND SHALL NOT CONSIDER ANY PREVIOUS CHILDREN BORN OR PREGNANCIES, AND SHALL NOT BE PERSUADED BY SOLELY THE PARENTS WISHES. AND SO I'D LIKE TO ASK THE GENTLELADY ON THOSE TWO ISSUES, THE JUSTIFICATION. SO, FIRST, MR. SPEAKER, I WOULD ANSWER THAT THE CRITERIA THAT WE SETTLED ON FOR THE JUDGE TO LOOK AT MIRROR THE CRITERIA THAT A JUDGE WOULD USE IN DETERMINING WHETHER A MINOR CAN GET AN ABORTION. AND THIS WAS LANGUAGE THAT WAS WORKED ON WITH ALL OF THE RELEVANT STAKEHOLDERS TO MAKE SURE THEY WERE COMFORTABLE WITH THAT LANGUAGE. WITH RESPECT TO ITEM 4, WHAT THAT IS SAYING IS, YOU CANNOT BASE A FINDING THAT THE MARRIAGE IS IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD SOLELY ON THE FACT THAT SHE'S PREGNANT. YOU CAN CONSIDER IT. BUT YOU CAN'T COME IN AND SAY, WELL, SHE'S PREGNANT AND THEREFORE SHE CAN GET MARRIED BECAUSE WHAT YOU WILL FIND IS, AND WHAT THE FEAR IS AND THERE HAVE BEEN CASES OF THIS, WHERE IT USED TO BE THE LAW, IF YOU RAPE A CHILD UNDER 14, AND THEN YOU MARRY HER, THAT MARRIAGE WAS A DISSENT. WE VERY RECENTLY GOT RID OF BUT THERE ARE CASES WHERE THERE THAT. HAVE BEEN SEXUAL ASSAULTS THAT HAVE RESULTED IN A PREGNANCY AND THEN THAT PERPETRATOR HAS MARRIED THE CHILD IN AN ATTEMPT TO GET OUT OF TROUBLE. WHAT THIS IS SAYING IS, YOU CAN'T LOOK AT THAT CASE, IF THERE IS A HISTORY OF ABUSE OR IF THERE IS EVIDENCE THAT THAT CHILD HAS BEEN ABUSED OR COERCED, YOU CANNOT OVERCOME THAT JUST BY SAYING, SHE'S PREGNANT. SO SOLELY BECAUSE SHE'S PREGNANT, WE'RE GOING TO SAY IT'S IN HER BEST INTEREST TO GET MARRIED. MR. SPEAKER, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN OF THE HOUSE, I DID A SEARCH ON EVERY POSSIBLE TERM I COULD FIND THAT WOULD BE APPLIED TO THIS BILL AND FOUND NO INSTANCES IN THE STATE OF VIRGINIA, MAYBE THERE'S A SEPARATE INSTANCE THAT THE GENTLELADY WAS DISCUSSING, AND I'M NOT SAYING THAT THOSE INSTANCES MAY NOT OCCUR, BUT THE ONLY OTHER INSTANCE I FIND WAS IN MARYLAND IN 2012, AND THEN THE OTHER CASES WERE OVERWHELMINGLY IN ENGLAND, IN AFRICA, AND ASIA. AND TO REMOVE A PARENTAL DECISION-MAKING OF THEIR OWN MINOR, THEIR CHILD, OUGHT TO BE COMPELLING, OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE THAT WE ARE NOW REMOVING THAT FROM PARENTS. IF THE BILL WAS ONLY TO RAISE THE LEGAL AGE TO GET MARRIED WITHOUT PARENTAL CONSENT TO 18, I WOULD ABSOLUTELY SUPPORT THAT BILL. BUT THE GENTLELADY DISCUSSES ISSUES THAT ARE VERY REMOTE, BUT ALSO ISSUES BASED ON POSSIBILITIES AND FEARS. THERE ARE OTHER ARCHES TO ADDRESS THOSE FEARS SPECIFICALLY, SUCH AS CHANGING OUR STATUTE FOR PROTECTIVE ORDERS AND LETTING INDIVIDUALS IN THAT TYPE OF SITUATION OBTAIN A PROTECTION ORDER. THAT'S A CHANGE. BUT IT'S NOT REMOVING A PARENT'S RESPONSIBILITY AND RIGHTS. I THINK TO REMOVE A PARENT'S RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES AND NOW ALLOWING THE JUDGE TO MAKE THE DECISION OVER THE PARENT, IS THAT REALLY WHAT WE WANT OUR PARENTAL RIGHTS TO COME TO? IS THAT REALLY THE BEST THAT A JUDGE WILL DETERMINE HOW MATURE THAT MINOR IS, A JUDGE WILL NOW DETERMINE WHETHER THE MINOR IS OLD ENOUGH, AND A JUDGE WILL NOW DETERMINE WHAT'S IN THE BEST INTERESTS WHEN THE ONLY ISSUE TO RESOLVE IS, SHOULD THIS MINOR BE ALLOWED TO BE MARRIED. I THINK THAT IS A HUGE INFRINGEMENT ON PARENTAL RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES, AND THAT'S WHY I WILL NOT SUPPORT THIS BILL. THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER.

Del. Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg): SHALL THE BILL BE ENGROSSED


[Unknown]: SHALL THE BILL PASS? THE CLERK WILL CLOSE THE ROLL. AYES 66, NOS 33. AYES 66, NOS 33, THE BILL IS PASSED. HOUSE BILL 1090, A BILL TO AMEND AND REENACT A SECTION OF THE CODE OF VIRGINIA RELATING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF
DO ANY SENATORS DESIRE TO CH ANGE THEIR VOTE? THE CLERK WILL CLOSE THE ROLL. AYES 36, NOS 4. AYES 36, NOS 4. THE BILL PASSS. HOUSE BILL 70 ABOUT A BILL RELATING TO LEGAL AGE FOR MARRIAGE EMANCIPATION PETITIONS FOR MINORS INTENDED TO MARRY, WRITTEN FINDINGS. REPORTED FROM THE COURTS OF JUSTICE WITH SUBSTITUTE. THE SENATOR FROM ROCKINGHAM. I MOVE THAT THE COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE BE AGREED TO. THE QUESTION IS SHALL THE COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE ABOUT HE AGREED TO. ALL IN FAVOR SAY AYE. THOSE OPPOSED, NO. THE AYES HAVE IT. THE NO ARE FROM ROCKINGHAM. MR. PRESIDENT, I MOVE THAT THE BILL PASS. THIS IS THE MARRIAGE UNDER 18 LEGISLATION I TENDED TO ADDRESS SITUATION THAT WAS ADDRESSED EARLIER IN SESSION BY THE SENATOR FROM FAUQUIER AND THIS CONFORMS THIS BILL TO HER VERSION OF THE BILL AND WITH THAT I WOULD YIELD TO THE SENATOR FROM FAUQUIER. THE SENATOR FROM BUCKINGHAM. MR. PRESIDENT, RESPECTFULLY I WOULD ASK THAT THIS BILL GO BYE FOR THE DAY. WITH THAT OBJECTION, HOUSE BILL


Del. Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg): HAVE ALL THE SENATORS VOTED? DO ANY SENATORS STIER TO CHANGE THEIR VOTES? THE CLERK WILL CLOSE THE ROLL.

[Unknown]: AYES 37, NOS 3. THE MOTION IS AGREED TO. THE SENATOR FROM ROCKINGHAM. MR. PRESIDENT, HAVING BEEN PREVIOUSLY EXPLAINED, I MOVE THE BILL'S PACKAGE.

Del. Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg): THE QUESTION IS, SHALL HOUSE BILL 703 PASS? ALL IN FAVOR OF THE MOTION RECORD THEIR VOTES AYE.