New Hampshire – End Child Marriage

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NH State Representative Cassandra Levesque and JPus managing member Loretta Jay


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.

Legislative Activity

2024 Legislative Session

New Hampshire Senator Debra Altschiller introduced SB359, a bill to end child marriage in the state. This bill will raise the minimum age to marry in New Hampshire from 16 to 18 without exception.

  • The bill is scheduled for a hearing on April 2, 2024 before the House Child and Family Law Committee. JPus submitted written testimony, co-signed by 35 NH JPs.
  • After some last-minute advocacy efforts, the bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 1st, and then on March 7, 2024, it passed the full Senate unanimously!
  • JPus submitted this letter as written testimony to the Senate Judiciary.
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 Session
State 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.

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