The Spanish government is set to raise the minimum age at which someone can marry from 14 to 16 years old.
Under current Spanish law, teenagers can get married with the permission of a judge. Without permission, they have to wait until they turn 18.
The bill to raise the minimum marriage age passed the lower house of the country’s parliament and has been sent to the Senate for debate, although it is likely to be approved.
In 2010, experts from the United Nations (UN) urged Spain to change the law. However, it will not affect very many people. Official statistics revealed that only six 14 year-olds got married during the first half of 2014, and only one did so the previous year.
The proposed change has appeared to some as the next logical step for Spain. Recently the government increased the age of consent from 13 to 16 years old following pressure from children’s rights organisations and the UN.
Dr Javier Fajardo, a professor of law at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, told the Associated Press that Spain’s low minimum marriage age was not unusual given the history of Europe. He said that while “a person of 14 is seen as still a child” in modern society, “a century ago they could have been the head of a family, responsible and working”.
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