DENVER — More than 4,900 minors have requested a marriage license in Colorado since 2000. Out of those requests, 127 involved a bride or groom aged 15 years or younger and 10 came from Coloradans under the age of 13.
Minimum age restrictions for marriage vary from state to state. Colorado is one of a handful of states that allow marriages at any age.
A marriage between teenagers aged 15 years and younger must be approved by both a judge and a parent.
Sixteen-year-olds need a parent or a judge to sign off on the union.
According to a recent state investigation, thousands of underage marriage licenses have been issued in recent years.
“In the 90s, we had a 12-year-old who got a marriage certificate,” Rep. Chris Hansen (D-Denver) said. “Colorado has no minimum age of marriage.”
Hansen is planning on reintroducing a bill at the State Capitol to reform the age of marriage in Colorado. The bill proposal will become public in the coming weeks.
Under Hansen’s proposed bill, marriage would be banned for anyone 15 years or younger. Sixteen- and 17-year-olds would need the approval of a judge.
Hansen says that is because he has heard parents of 16-year-olds are the ones signing off on marriage and it has looked suspicious to some county clerks.
“I know this is happening all over the state, where they are noticing situations where 16, 17-year-old girls are being brought in — sometimes with their mother or father — and the situation doesn’t seem quite right,” Hansen said.