Marriage age bill clears second reading

The House of Representatives has approved in second reading s bill that increases the age of marriage for a female from 14 to 18.

Under present law the legal age for marriage for males is 18 and for females it’s 14.

Current law also states that the parties have to get the consent of one of her parents or legal guardian.

The bill was sponsored by Sua Represenatative Fialupe Fiaui Lutu  and has been under review by the Legal Affairs Committee chaired by Manu’a faipule Toeaina Faufano Autele.

Rep Fiaui Lutu was Chief Clerk of the House when the same bill was introduced in 2012 by the late Rep Lemapu Talo.

It was passed in the House but was not approved by the Senate.

The Senate committee which reviewed the bill, chaired by the late Senator Lualameaga Faoa,  moved to reject the bill following a committee hearing at which a church minister testified that current law is sufficient in that a girl getting married at 14 required the consent of her parents/guardians.

It was brought up during review of the bill this time around in the House that there’s a conflict in the marriage age of females and the age of consent for sex which is 16.

Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale told members of the Legal Affairs Committee that he supports the bill.