RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina has recently developed a dubious reputation: as a regional destination for adults who want to marry children.
State lawmakers are nearing passage of a bill that could dampen the state’s appeal as the go-to place to bring child brides.
The proposed legislation would raise the minimum marriage age from 14 to 16 and limit the age difference between a 16-year-old and their spouse to four years.
A study by the International Center for Research on Women estimates that nearly 8,800 minors were listed on marriage licenses in North Carolina from 2000-2015.
That places the state among the top five with child marriages during that period. Of the state's child marriages through 2019, 93% involved adult spouses.