Raising the age of marriage to 18 in Northern Ireland is subject to public consultation
A public consultation has been launched in Northern Ireland on raising the age at which people can marry to 18.
there are fewer than 100 weddings in the region each year where at least one attendee is under the age of 18.
Young people between the ages of 16 and 17 can marry with parental consent. The law is the same in England, Scotland and Wales. In the Republic of Ireland you must be 18 to marry.
In 2019 there were 80 marriages in Northern Ireland where one or both involved were under the age of 18, up from 60 in 2018, and there were 61 in 2017, 43 in 2016 and 79 in 2015.
Tory MP Pauline Latham has proposed a private member’s bill to raise the minimum age in England and Wales to 18. It should receive its second reading on Friday 19 November.
There have recently been calls from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to raise the age to 18 in jurisdictions that allow child marriage.
The public in Northern Ireland is also being asked to give their opinion on whether creed marriages, overseen by humanist officiants, should be on an equal footing with religious marriage.
Creed marriages are currently subject to temporary arrangements.
There have been 702 religious marriages celebrated since April 2020.
The Marriage Law consultation will run until February 18, 2022.
Responses can be made via www.finance-ni.gov.uk/consultations.