Missouri’s lenient marriage laws have made the state a magnet for child weddings, including marriages that may involve the bride’s rapist. That fact should shock every Missourian.
For marriages involving 15- and 16-year-olds, a judge would have to hold a hearing and deem the marriage “advisable.” No one 21 years of age or older could marry someone who hasn’t turned 17.
The scandal of Missouri’s child brides — outlined in detail by The Star — deserves the legislature’s full attention. The bill now on the table is a reasonable first step to make it harder for children to be married in the state.
More work to be done
The Missouri General Assembly has a number of other issues on its last-week to-do list. Lawmakers understand the stakes, and should be able to move quickly to address these lingering concerns: