Marriage at 18 complicates the case for votes at 16

The law is expected to be changed to raise the age of marriage from 16 to 18, while opposition parties want the voting age to go in the opposite direction, writes John Rentoul

Sunday 13 June 2021 00:00
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<p>The former home secretary could bring a bill to the Commons this week</p>

The former home secretary could bring a bill to the Commons this week

The government intends to change the law to raise the age of marriage from 16 to 18. This may be done through a private member’s bill to be brought in by Sajid Javid, the former home secretary, this week.

Javid argues that the current law, which allows children aged 16 and 17 to marry with their parents’ consent, allows them to be “pushed into such serious and life-changing commitments before they are ready”.

This is an important change, and widely supported, which also has consequences for other questions of how society defines adulthood. In particular, it complicates the argument for lowering the voting age to 16, which has already happened for elections to the Scottish parliament and the Welsh Senedd, and which is supported for UK elections by Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens.

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