Monday, May 15, 2017

N.J. Governor Conditionally Vetoes Total Ban On Marriage of Minors, Citing Religious Traditions

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on May 11 vetoed Assembly Bill 3091 which would have placed an absolute ban on issuing of marriage or civil union licenses to persons under 18 years of age. His Conditional Veto message (full text) sent the bill back with recommendations for reconsideration.  the message said in part:
New Jersey law currently permits the issuance of these licenses to 16 and 17 year-olds with parental consent and to persons below age 16 with both parental consent and judicial approval....
I am recommending that this bill be amended so that a marriage license no longer be issued for a person under the age of 16.
I also would require judicial approval for the issuance of a marriage license to persons who are age 16 and 17....
An exclusion without exceptions would violate the cultures and traditions of some communities in New Jersey based on religious traditions. Judicial oversight would permit consideration of these factors in the 16 and 17 year old timeframe.
According to Politico, "almost 3,500 marriages involving at least one partner under 18 took place in New Jersey from 1995 to 2012. Of those, 163 involved at least one spouse 15 or younger. Most were religious arranged marriages."