By Chris Kramer
Under the age of 18 and interested in getting married in the state of Arkansas? Simply get parental consent and find yourself a groom or bride. Come again? That's right. An error in a new Arkansas marriage law says that it is alright for people under 18 to get married in the state as long as they have parental blessing.
So if you can get married whenever you want in the state, guess the same goes for getting an Arkansas divorce?
State Representative Will Bond had originally proposed a law that would have set the minimum age to marry in Arkansas at 18, with the exception being pregnant teens who have parental consent. However, what he ended up with in the law's final language proved to open up an embarrassing can of worms.
Read the law's text below and see for yourself what's wrong with it (here's a clue: one word should not be in it):
"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."
Obviously, this Arkansas marriage law should not include the word "not" and is meant to pertain to pregnant teens under the age of 18.
While a code revision committee corrected the language in the bill, the Arkansas Legislative Council said last week that the committee may have overstepped its bounds. The committee has the power to only correct spelling, grammar, typos, improper word use and other errors.
Bond responded to the error in the law by saying that it was obviously not intended to let little children get married. With that said, a special session may need to be called in order to fix the error in this Arkansas marriage law.
State Senator Sue Madison expressed her concern in an Associated Press story about the law. She specifically worried that pedophiles would travel to Arkansas and find parents who would be willing to sign a very young child's consent to get married; thus creating a sense of urgency to change the law within the next couple of weeks.
While this glitch in the Arkansas marriage law may seem comical to those skeptical of legislators, such a possibility as expressed by Madison is hardly so.