Today the North Carolina House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill that ends child marriage in our state. The bill passed unanimously.
Dr. Kristin Baker (R-Cabarrus) and Rep. Ashton Wheeler Clemmons (D-Guilford) are both sponsors of House Bill 41 and made the following statements about its passage.
Dr. Kristin Baker said, “Research indicates that people who marry as minors face increased dropout rates from both high school and college, increased medical and mental health problems, and markedly increased likelihood of future poverty. This bill raises the age of marriage to 16. It also sets limits on age gaps for marriage of minors ages 16 and 17, thus serving as a deterrent for those who would target North Carolina as a destination state for human trafficking.”
She continued, “As a conservative Christian, I am a strong supporter of the sacrament of marriage. As a child psychiatrist, I am determined to protect our vulnerable youth, enhancing their chances for healthy, happy futures. I believe this bill works to achieve those ends. “
“I am extremely proud to see this critical bill moving forward in the NC House,” said Rep. Clemmons. She continued, “It is past time that we protect young people – especially young girls – from the well-documented negative impacts of child marriage. I am grateful for the determination of advocates and the bi-partisan, bi-cameral legislative leadership to make this progress to protect our children.”