Thursday, July 24, 2008

No Brides Under 18

New York, 1895

Without Parents' Consent, or Felony on the Part of Clergymen.

The new law, raising the age of consent of girls from 16 to 18 years, has called forth a statement from Judge McAdam of the Superior Court. The new law takes effect on Sept. 1 next. The Judge says:

"No magistrate or clergyman should, after Sept. 1, 1895, perform the marriage ceremony where the female is under 18 years without the consent of her parents or guardian. If he does he may unconsciously be made accessory to a criminal offence.

"The section of the Penal Code is 282, which was passed on April 27 last, providing that any person who takes a female under the age of 18 without the consent of her father, mother, guardian, or other person having charge of her person, for the purpose of marriage, is guilty of abduction, punishable by fine and imprisonment. The act does not declare in terms such marriage void, yet, being in violation of law, it may be voidable.

"The age of a female is always problematical. The polite way to determine it is to allow the lady to declare it herself and accept her statement, but this will not satisfy legal requirements, and no official will be safe in performing the ceremony after Sept. 1 without first consulting the bride's parents or guardian, unless age has made its impress in such a manner as to defy deception."

—The Long Island Farmer, Jamaica, NY, May 10, 1895, p. 8.

No comments: