Florida Governor Rick Scott says he will sign a bill barring anyone under the age of 17 from receiving a marriage license. Lawmakers filed the measure after hearing the story of a Florida woman who was raped by her church deacon as a young girl, became pregnant and was forced to marry him at age 11. Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto (R-Fort Meyers) sponsored the measure in the House.
“We should not allow people to continue to assault children and then use marriage as a shield for their behavior,” Benacquisto says.
Benacquisto initially proposed a ban on marriage for anyone under the age of 18, but some pushed for the ability of high school sweet hearts to marry, especially if there’s a pregnancy involved. The legislation heading to the governor’s desk is a compromise that would allow a 17-year-old to marry someone who is no more than 2-years their senior.