Even though New Hampshire’s minimum age to wed was 13 (girls) and 14 (boys), 2017 efforts to raise the age were unsuccessful. In 2018, the New Hampshire legislature voted to increase the state’s minimum age to wed to 16. That law went into effect on January 1, 2019. Efforts continue to eliminate marriage for all minor children under the age of 18.
The push behind the 2018 bill was Cassandra Levesque. She was a high school graduating senior and girl scout, pursuing her passion. The experience is what led her to run for office, and she is now a state Representative. JPus is proud to call Cassandra “Cassie” Levesque our friend.
2023 Legislative Session
State Rep Levesque can count on JPus to support her efforts to end child marriage. She sent JPus’ managing member an email, “We have a shot, and I am never one to give up easily! The committee make up is eight Republicans and eight Democrats. The House itself is almost 50/50, so this is going to be a very interesting year.” Unfortunately, despite moving testimony from a state legislator, herself a child marriage survivor, the bill didn’t make it out of Committee.
- Representative Levesque introduced HB34, Relative to Raising the Age of Marriage to Eighteen.
- On January 22, 2023, JPus submitted testimony to the House Children’s Committee in favor of the bill.
2022 Legislative SessionState Representative Cassandra Levesque tells JPus that the Republican leadership in NH is dead-set against the child marriage bill. She said that Republicans have control of the House, the Senate and the Governor’s office. As a result, a child marriage bill will not progress this session. We need to wait for more favorable conditions during another legislative session.
2021 Legislative Session
JPus submitted written testimony in support of HB60 in February 2021. This bill, submitted by Representative Cassandra Levesque, would end all child marriages in the state of New Hampshire. JPus is in support of this marriage as it creates a no-exception rule.
2020 Legislative Session
In 2020, on behalf of the state’s JPs, JPus submitted written testimony in support of HB1516 to end child marriage in the state. Efforts to allow an exception for emancipated minors were successfully blocked before the bill crossed over from the House to Senate on March 26. The bill eventually died in the Senate.
2019 Legislative Session
In January, 2019 newly elected state Representative Cassandra Levesque sponsored HB378. It would increase the minimum age to marry in New Hampshire to 18 – no exceptions. With the support of our NH members, on January 17, 2019 JPus submitted a letter in support of the bill. Unfortunately, the bill was tabled after amendments were attached to it.
- Information about our advocacy and partnerships for officiants about child and forced marriage.
- Education and training for officiants about child and forced marriage
- JPus has been on the forefront of legislative activity to end child marriage in other states
- Follow our state-by-state changes to marriage laws
- How membership voted to join the Coalition to End Child Marriage
- Working with our partners amplifies our voice and helps achieve our goals