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New Hampshire Women’s Foundation Applauds the Passage of HB1587

May 2, 2018 – Concord, NH – Today, the New Hampshire Senate passed HB 1587, setting the minimum age for all marriages in New Hampshire at age 16, with no exceptions. HB 1587 is a companion bill to HB 1661, which passed the Senate last month. HB 1661 requires a Family Division judge to find clear and convincing evidence that marriage is in the best interest of a minor before giving permission for the minor to get married. Both HB 1587 and HB 1661 passed the House and the Senate with broad bipartisan support. Governor Chris Sununu has already pledged support for these measures.

With the passage of HB 1587 and HB 1661, New Hampshire is finally poised to move out of the back of the pack when it comes to child marriage. As a package, the bills (1) eliminate shamefully outdated different minimum ages for girls and boys; (2) set a no-exceptions minimum marriage age of 16; and (3) establish a meaningful judicial process that hinges on what is best for the minor.

The New Hampshire Women’s Foundation applauds the New Hampshire Legislature for this important progress on child marriage. We know that child marriage puts girls’ safety, education, and future economic security at risk. As more and more states move toward setting the minimum marriage age at 17 or 18, we will continue to monitor this issue.

We also offer heartfelt congratulations to Cassandra Levesque, a New Hampshire Girl Scout who learned that New Hampshire girls could get married at age 13 and has relentlessly pursued today’s result ever since. Cassandra is a fearless advocate and a terrific role model for the girls of the Granite State.

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