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Marriage: 16 and 17-year-olds

Part of Church Commissioners – in the House of Commons on 31st October 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Chair, Draft Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill Committee

The legal position is that 16 and 17-year-olds are entitled to have their banns published and to marry in church. I am sure that all Members who have been to an Anglican wedding will be familiar with the moment during the service when the priest asks whether anyone has an objection to the marriage. That is part of the marriage process. When a young couple are preparing for marriage, they are prepared by the priest for the very profound decision that they are making. However, those of such a tender age constitute only a very small percentage of the number who marry in Anglican churches.