Arkansas lawmakers fucked up

Saturday, August 18, 2007 at 22:06 | Posted in Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Arkansas legislature seems to have screwed up the state law intended to allow teenagers under 18 to get married with parental consent in case of pregnancy. The law which took effect on 31st July 2007 says:

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.

The word “not” seems to allow minors at any age to marry if their parents agree. This was obviously not the intention of the legislature. Since the legislature is adjourned until January (I wonder if 2009 at MyWay is not a print error) Senator Sue Madison is calling for a special session:

I am concerned about pedophiles coming to Arkansas to find parents who are willing to sign a very young child’s consent.

The legislature obviously needs to do something but I just wonder if deleting the word “not” is enough. The present edition at least allows an under aged father to get married with consent of his parents but just deleting the “not” would probably allow the mother but ban the father to get married. Also, what if the baby is already born? In such case the teenage mother would no longer be pregnant and accordingly not allowed to enter the marriage.

I do not know about Arkansas but it is customary in a number of parliamentary assemblies allover the World that bills are thoroughly examined and analyzed by legal and linguistic experts before they are presented for approval in chambers. Everybody makes mistakes but collective mistakes of a legislative body are something to be avoided at any cost.

via RA-Blog

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