Gov. Larry Hogan signed more than 100 pieces of legislation into law Thursday, including raising the legal age to marry in Maryland.
The new law raising Maryland’s minimum marriage age from 15 to 17, and gives underage brides and grooms extra hoops to jump through before they can tie the knot.
Seventeen-year-olds will only be allowed to marry if they have the permission of each living parent, guardian or legal custodian. Without the permission, the minor can petition the court with evidence that they are self-sufficient, but he or she would also have to participate in a hearing to determine whether they are entering the marriage voluntarily.
The bill’s sponsor, state Del. Vanessa Atterbeary (D-Howard County), has been pushing for legislation to raise the legal age of marriage in Maryland since 2015. She voiced her support on Twitter after the bill passed the senate in early April.
AFTER 7 YEARS, MD FINALLY APPROVES MY LEGISLATION TO BAN CHILD MARRIAGE! THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE WHO HAVE WORKED ON THIS IMPORTANT ISSUE OVER THE YEARS! @tahirihjustice @GirlsNotBrides @EmilyShetty @LukeClippinger @SenatorSarah https://t.co/Vx64NeHYvh
— Vanessa Atterbeary (@VAtterbeary) April 11, 2022
The law goes into effect Oct. 1.