Age of consent for sex and for marriage

Volokh, Eugene VOLOKH at
Wed Apr 23 13:58:23 PDT 2008

	Alaska (sec. 25.05.171, judicial best interests finding
required) and Georgia (title 19, sec. 3102), New York (Domestic
Relations Law sec. 15-a), North Carolina (sec. 51-2.1, at least when the
14-year-old is pregnant or has given birth to a child, judicial best
interests finding required), the Virgin Islands (title 16, sec. 2), and
Vermont (title 18, sec. 5142) seemingly allow 14-year-olds to marry with
parental consent (in the Virgin Islands, age 14 is for girls only)

	New Hampshire law (sec. 457:4, :6) apparently allows 13-year-old
girls to marry with parental consent and (apparently) with judicial

	Alaska law allows marriages at age 14 even without parental
consent in certain circumstances, if the judge finds the marriage is in
the child's best interests.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Paul Finkelman [mailto:pfink at] 
> Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 1:37 PM
> To: Volokh, Eugene; CONLAWPROF at
> Subject: Re: Age of consent for sex and for marriage
> Some states have a "variable" age of consent with the consent 
> at 16 only if the partner is less than two years older than 
> the 16 year old.  But, it does not appear that anywhere in 
> the US is it 13 or that anyone can get married at that age; 
> and we really only have to think about Texas law for the 
> current case. 
> I knew someone who said you could teach all of Con Law by 
> using cases involving Texas, Railroads, and Jehovah's 
> Witnesses.  I guess Texas has offered us a new case!
> Paul Finkelman
> President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law
>      and Public Policy
> Albany Law School
> 80 New Scotland Avenue
> Albany, New York   12208-3494
> 518-445-3386
> pfink at
> >>> "Volokh, Eugene" <VOLOKH at> 04/23/08 11:25 AM >>>
>     Marci asks an important question, but I'm genuinely 
> puzzled about how to figure out the answer.  Until the early 
> 1990s, many states put the age of consent for sex at 14 
> (without any limitation on the age of the partner; when the 
> partner is young, the age of consent is sometimes that low 
> even today, unless I'm mistaken).  Now as I understand it the 
> majority of states put the age of consent for sex at 16; an 
> important but small minority puts it at 18; a few, if I'm not 
> mistaken, put it at 17.  My sense is that throughout Central 
> and Western Europe, the age of consent varies from 13 (Spain) 
> to 14 (Germany, Austria, others) to 16.
> My sense is also that the majority (perhaps the overwhelming 
> majority?) of American states allow marriage with parental 
> consent starting at 16.
> Who's right?  How can we possibly tell?
>     And, relatedly, should there be a different standard for 
> what parents are allowed to tolerate (as opposed to 
> affirmatively foster, as in the FLDS and some other contexts) 
> without its being considered child abuse, or for that matter 
> what parents are allowed to teach in the absence of any 
> present or imminent action without the teaching being 
> considered child abuse?
>     Eugene
> ________________________________
> From: conlawprof-bounces at
> [mailto:conlawprof-bounces at] On Behalf Of 
> Hamilton02 at
> Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 6:59 AM
> To: DavidEBernstein at; rs at
> Cc: conlawprof-bounces at; CONLAWPROF at
> Subject: Re: Contributing to Delinquency of A Minor
> 	Why would one assume that is appropriate behavior and 
> therefore needs to be distinguished from the FLDS?  I do not 
> mean to sound flip-- it is a sincere question.  
> 	Marci 
> 	In a message dated 4/22/2008 8:31:33 P.M. Eastern 
> Daylight Time, DavidEBernstein writes:
> 		Hmmm....  I went to a ("modern") Orthodox 
> Jewish High School (Yeshiva of Flatbush), and several of my 
> female classmates, of Syrian Jewish origin (there is a large 
> Syrian Jewish community in Brooklyn), got married junior or 
> senior year to older men, at least in their mid-20s, and had 
> babies soon thereafter.  Is there a principled way to 
> distinguish this from the 16 year old pregnant "married" 
> women in the FLDS, assuming that the latter women indeed 
> wanted to be married to the men in question?  
> ________________________________
> 	Need a new ride? Check out the largest site for U.S. 
> used car listings at AOL Autos 
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