Senate Bill 35 has passed the House and has been placed on the Senate calendar for final approval on August 16. This bill raises the marriage age to 16 under all circum-stances, including pregnancy, requires parental consent for marriage at age 16 or 17, and further requires that there must be no more than a 4-year age difference between the parties to allow marriage under age 18. The bill is expected to pass. Currently, children as young as 14 can marry in this state, a situation that has made North Carolina a go-to state for child marriages. Last year, for example, two-thirds of marriage license applications in Buncombe County, a county that includes Asheville, were from out-of staters seeking to marry underage partners. We are finally ready to close the book on that ugly chapter. Also talking about state budget, Governor Cooper’s priorities, and how state budget defectors take leverage away from the governor.
First step of progress on the state budget – but very far to go. Some history on unapproved budgets in NC. Take action on anti-abortion bill HB 453 – call Governor Cooper! Update on SB 35, seeking to raise the marriage age FROM 14!!
This week there were two significant developments on our issues–one good and one disappointing. The good news is that HB 358, which would have barred transgender girls and young women from participating in school sports designated for females, is dead. The disappointing news is that a bill to raise the marriage age to 18 with no exceptions (HB 41/SB 35) was gutted. The amended bill brings the existing law into line with the sexual assault statute– something that should have been done when the marital rape exemption was repealed–while retaining all of the archaic exemptions that allow marriage as young as age 14.