Tennessee Panel Kills Bill To Outlaw Child Marriage

Posted: 5:04 PM, Mar 07, 2018
Updated: 2018-03-08 02:54:57Z

A Republican-led Tennessee House panel has killed a bill to ban child marriage because a socially conservative lobbyist argued it interferes with his state legal challenge of same-sex marriage.

The House Civil Justice Subcommittee voted Wednesday to halt consideration this session of legislation to limit marriage to only people 18 years or older. Republican House Majority Leader Glen Casada requested the delay at the urging of Family Action Council of Tennessee President David Fowler, a lawyer and former state senator.

Fowler contended that because the bill deals with marriage licenses, it interferes with his lawsuit.

Democratic bill sponsor Rep. Darren Jernigan of Old Hickory called it disgraceful and said he's embarrassed for Tennessee. Jeringan said he was blind sided this morning by the news. Fowler admitted to emailing the civil justice subcommittee chair, Mike Carter, but didn't contact Jernigan. 

Democratic Senate sponsor Jeff Yarbro has said some girls as young as 10 have married adult men in Tennessee.