Mae Flexer

State Senator

Mae Flexer

Deputy President Pro Tempore & Federal Relations Liaison

An Advocate for Us

June 2, 2023


No more ‘child brides’ as Senate acts to prevent domestic abuse, economic hardship

HARTFORD – On a bill in which she was the first co-sponsor, state Senator Mae Flexer today joined the state Senate in a bipartisan and unanimous 36-0 vote to end so-called ‘child marriages’ in Connecticut and to raise the legal age to marry in the state to age 18 in all instances.

“Connecticut has made some progress in recent years on this issue, but this bill today is the most important,” Sen. Flexer said. “During the public hearing we heard a lot of stories from young marriage survivors about their being forced into relationships by their parents or other trusted adults, and the devastating consequences of those arrangements. Their lives have been affected by sexual abuse and violence – it’s simply unconscionable that Connecticut would still have a law in place to put people into these types of binding contracts of marriage with no way out. I’m deeply grateful to those people for making their voices heard and for helping us right those wrongs.”

Currently under Connecticut state law, 16- and 17-year-olds can get married if a probate court approved a petition field by the minor’s parent or guardian. But at the February 27 public hearing on the bill, more than three dozen individuals and associations testified about the harmful effects of these so-called ‘child bride’ marriages, including some parents who approve such early marriages to cover up rape, sexual abuse, or to conceal a pregnancy, or the young women who are married and who then face domestic abuse, high rates of divorce, and ensuing poverty.

House Bill 6569, “AN ACT CONCERNING THE MINIMUM AGE TO BE ELIGIBLE TO MARRY,” passed the House of Representatives on a bipartisan 98-45 vote on May 3: the bill now heads to the desk of Governor Ned Lamont for his signature of the bill into law.