LITTLE ROCK– A new bill signed into effect on Wednesday by Governor Asa Hutchinson aims to end child marriage in Arkansas.

HB 1708, sponsored by Representative Vivian Flowers (D-Pine Bluff), updates the minimum age girls can be married with parental consent and abolishes a special clause that could potentially allow girls to be married at a very young age.

Previously, the minimum age allowed for teenage girls to marry was 16 and a judge could approve a marriage for girls regardless of age if the girl was pregnant.

With the new changes in the bill, the minimum age that girls and boys can be married with parental consent will be 17 years old, regardless of circumstances.

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