Child brides outlawed
Buzzkill lawmakers in Kansas have decided you have to be 15 whole years old before entering into the bonds of holy matrimony.
The legislation comes after a pregnant 14-year-old from Nebraska drove across the border to marry her 22-year-old boyfriend.
The two had started dating when the bride was 12 and the groom was 20. Two years later, the girl was knocked up and the couple had their parents' blessing to marry.
But that wasn't good enough for Kansas.
Right after they got married, husband Matthew Koso got shipped off to jail for sexual assault.
"I'm so scared that I am going to lose both of them, and I don't want to," he tearfully told ABC News.
"Right now there isn't anything that I love more than my wife and my daughter."
Under new state rules, a 15-year-old can only get married if a district court judge approves it. Sixteen and seventeen-year-olds need some combination of parental and judicial permission.
"It's important that no adult has sexually exploited a child and used marriage as a shield," said Rep. Tom Burroughs, who worked on the bill.
"If they're under 16, it's very important that a judge be involved."
State senator Kay O'Connor objected to the legislation, citing same sort of religious claptrap that established Kansas as a cultural backwater years ago.
"Many historians believe that the blessed Virgin Mary was 14 when she was married," O'Connor said.
In addition, she said that the new legislation might encourage pregnant 14-year-olds incapable of responsibly raising children to get abortions. And she wondered if the state had any business intervening in matters best left private.
"How dare we try to judge other people's personal lives like this?" she said.
Naturally, O'Connor co-sponsored legislation several years ago to ban gay marriage in Kansas.
She wrote at the time that "any state or nation that gives into the lusty perversions of the homosexual lifestyle, soon sees its own demise."
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