House Republicans reconsider killing of child bride bill

State House Republicans are reconsidering the killing of a bill to prohibit marriage of children under age 18, reports The Tennessean. The measure sponsored by Democratic Rep. Darren Jernigan of Nashville was previously punted until 2019 on motion of House Majority Leader Glen Casada, who acknowledged he was acting at the request of Christian conservative leader David Fowler.

Fowler argued that passing Jernigan’s bill could interfere with a lawsuit he is mounting to counter the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision to legalize gay marriage in the 2015 case of Obergefell v. Hodges.

Jernigan called the treatment of his bill “brutal,” as subcommittee Chair Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, declined to allow Jernigan to call witnesses up to speak who had traveled to Tennessee from New Jersey.

But by Thursday afternoon, after media reports outlining a loophole in Tennessee law that gives judges discretion to grant marriage licenses with no minimum age limit, Casada said he conferred with Carter, a former general sessions judge, and was “shocked.”

“I have sat down with Carter, and I was more than shocked when I found out that there are judges in the state of Tennessee that allow for children to be married,” Casada said. “So, with that fact given, we are going to revisit these limits on what a judge in Tennessee can do on marrying children in our state.”

Casada said the measure will be brought back for reconsideration at the next meeting of the subcommittee…

“Judges can rule that a 12-year-old can marry someone who is over 18. I just didn’t think that would exist,” Casada said. “That’s when the legislature has to act.

Note: Previous post HERE.

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