Colorado Court Firmly Supports Hetero Marriage

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Ralph
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Colorado Court Firmly Supports Hetero Marriage

Post by Ralph » Fri Jun 16, 2006 9:17 pm

TheDenverChannel.com

Court: 12-Year-Olds Can Marry Under Common Law
Girls As Young As 12, Boys As Young As 14 Can Marry, Appeals Court Says

POSTED: 10:20 am MDT June 15, 2006
UPDATED: 3:08 pm MDT June 15, 2006
DENVER -- A 15-year-old girl can enter into a valid common-law marriage in Colorado, and the minimum age could be as young as 12 for girls and 14 for boys, the state Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

The court stopped short of setting a minimum age but said under English common law, which Colorado recognizes, common-law marriages could be legal at 12 and 14.

For traditional ceremonial marriage, Colorado law sets the minimum age at 18, or at 16 with parental consent or a judge's approval. The ruling said the law specifically does not invalidate common-law marriages.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court overturned a lower court judge who said the girl was too young to marry at 15. The girl is now older than 18, the ruling said.

The appeal was filed by Willis Rouse, 38, who is serving time for escape and a parole violation. He argued that he and the girl, identified only as J.M.H., began living together in April 2002 and applied for an Adams County marriage license a year later.

The girl had become legally independent by April 2003, but her mother consented to the marriage and accompanied the girl and Rouse to the county clerk's office to obtain a license, the ruling said.

The county clerk issued a license, but District Judge James Hartmann in neighboring Weld County granted a motion by the Weld County Department of Human Services to invalidate the marriage, saying anybody under age 16 must obtain judicial approval for either common-law or ceremonial marriage.

The Court of Appeals agreed with Rouse that he could legally marry J.M.H. The court did not conclude whether the two have a valid marriage, but sent the case back to the trial judge to make that determination.

The ruling said Colorado is one of 10 states, plus the District of Columbia, that recognize common-law marriage, which is based on English law dating back hundreds of years, and Colorado courts have not determined an age of consent for such marriage.

The ruling said there is no clear legislative or statutory guidance on the issue.

"It appears that Colorado has adopted the common-law age of consent for marriage as 14 for a male and 12 for a female, which existed under English common law," the ruling said. "Nevertheless, we need only hold here that a 15-year-old female may enter into a valid common-law marriage."

To learn more about the case, No. 04CA740, go to the state courts Web site.
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jbuck919
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Post by jbuck919 » Fri Jun 16, 2006 9:42 pm

I am reminded of Gypsy, where the star of the show runs off with her boyfriend and it is reported that in Texas a girl can marry at the age of 12.

In modern society, marriage under the age of 18 should be uniformally illegal, even with parental consent. That is a matter of common sense. Marriage amounts to a contract, and no one under the age of 18 may make a binding contract in any state in the United States.

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Ricordanza
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Post by Ricordanza » Sat Jun 17, 2006 6:20 am

The appeal was filed by Willis Rouse, 38, who is serving time for escape and a parole violation. He argued that he and the girl, identified only as J.M.H., began living together in April 2002 and applied for an Adams County marriage license a year later.

The girl had become legally independent by April 2003, but her mother consented to the marriage and accompanied the girl and Rouse to the county clerk's office to obtain a license, the ruling said.
Although the legal aspects are interesting to me as a lawyer, I can't help but be disgusted by this mother, who consents to her daughter's marriage at age 15 to, of all people, a 38 year old criminal.

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