Babies can legally wed in Arkansas

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When I tell people that my entire extended family hails from Arkansas, they usually have a hillbilly joke or two to share with me. I'll laugh if the joke is funny, but in truth, I think the good people of Arkansas get a bad rap. They may be country, but in my experience Arkansans are kind and hardworking people who would never dream of marrying off their babies. But they could if they wanted to.

Arkansas lawmakers didn't mean to, but they passed a law that allows citizens of any age to marry if their parents agree. Their intent was to establish 18 as the minimum marrying age, but to also allow pregnant teens to marry with parental consent. But somebody stuck the word "not" in front of the word "pregnant".

The bill reads: "In order for a person who is younger than eighteen (18) years of age and who is not pregnant to obtain a marriage license, the person must provide the county clerk with evidence of parental consent to the marriage."

Normally, a code revision commission would be allowed to to fix this error. But for some reason that makes no sense to me, a group of legislators said that fixing that particular error would be going beyond the commission's powers. "You're either pregnant or you're not pregnant," Sen. Dave Bisbee said. "Rarely will that be a typographical error." Is he saying it's not a typographical error?

I am confident that one way or the other, it will get fixed. But they had better shake a leg because the sex offenders might all be on their way to Arkansas right now. "We need a special session to fix this," Sen. Sue Madison said. "I am concerned about pedophiles coming to Arkansas to find parents who are willing to sign a very young child's consent."

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.