HARRISBURG, Pa. (WKBN) – Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed a bill into law Friday that bans child marriage in the state, making it the third state to do so.
House Bill 360 sets 18 as the minimum age to obtain a marriage license.
Prior to that, a marriage license could be issued to an applicant younger than 16 with court approval. Those between the ages of 16 and 18 could obtain one with parental consent.
According to a press release from State Rep. Perry Warren, marriage license data from 2000 to 2010 shows that in 38 states, more than 167,000 children were married. Most of those girls married were as young as 12 – to men 18 or older, according to the press release.
“Setting the minimum age to obtain a marriage license will help prevent child exploitation,” said Gov. Wolf. “Marriage is a sacred and serious commitment that should be undertaken with love by two adults, not by children being exploited by unscrupulous adults.”
The law also extends the time period for child care and school employees to obtain their criminal Federal Bureau of Investigation background certifications.
Friday, Gov. Wolf also signed into law Senate Bill 67, which amends regulations to expand the availability of psychological services through telemedicine.
“The COVID-19 crisis has reduced Pennsylvanians’ ability to meet in-person with a therapist during a time when they are facing life changes, stress, and grief,” said Gov. Wolf. “Senate Bill 67 will allow Pennsylvanians to more easily access psychological services for mental wellness while supporting physical health through social distancing.”