She was 14, already a mom. But a probate judge across the border in Upstate South Carolina would. So they drove to Gaffney. Alongside the teen birth rate, the number of underage marriages has been dropping for decades. But a few probate judges, who are elected by the public but not required to hold law degrees, still lean on a rule passed by the General Assembly 56 years ago that allows pregnant adolescents — of any age — to tie the knot.
But Caldwell, and most of her colleagues, agree that the law begs clarification. Most states offer provisions that allow teenagers younger than 18 to marry, but a national movement to close these loopholes is gaining ground. Meanwhile, South Carolina lawmakers have largely ignored the issue. Statehouse politicians in Columbia introduce legislation every year to protect unborn children and restrict abortion, but they have passed nothing in nearly 20 years to prevent minors from entering into child marriages — with adults or each other.
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In , records obtained by The Post and Courier show that a year-old girl in this state married a year-old boy. Katrina Shealy, a Lexington Republican who has been active on child-protection issues.
State Department has declared child marriage a gender-discrimination and human rights issue. Most states carve out exceptions that allow teenagers to wed long before they can vote or buy alcohol. In relatively few cases, teenage boys in South Carolina have married adult women. But an older section of the law allows girls to marry if they become pregnant or give birth.
It was never erased from the books and sets no minimum age for marriage. I actually had no idea this law existed. That makes no sense. The age of consent in South Carolina is 16, but teenagers as young as 14 may agree to have sex with a partner who is no more than 18 years old.
Take the year-old girl and the year-old man who were granted a marriage license in South Carolina in She was not old enough to consent to sex, but the law allowed her to marry the man anyway. Shealy said.
North Carolina Marriage Licenses
To this day, county probate judges across the state interpret the law differently. Association of Probate Judges, said his peers disagree on the issue. Fulp himself will not grant marriages licenses to teenagers younger than His office has issued at least three marriage licenses to applicants under the age of 16 since , state records show. Spartanburg County has issued more marriages licenses to applicants under the age of 16 than any other South Carolina probate court in the past decade, but such marriages have become increasingly rare.
In , her office issued five. The vast majority of children who become pregnant in this state every year do not marry. In , for example, 49 girls, ages 10 to 14, gave birth in South Carolina.follow
Vital Records, South Carolina Genealogy Trails
Only one year-old applied for a marriage license that year, according to the S. Department of Health an Environmental Control. In , children under the age of 15 gave birth and 86 marriage licenses were granted to and year-old girls. When Evie Lane found herself pregnant at 14 years old in , her mother offered her no choice but to marry her year-old boyfriend. She wed Mark Lane on Aug. She wore a white button-down blouse and peach pants.
Evie turned 15 and gave birth to their second child. You lay in it.
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Child marriages were more common back then. Kevin Baird, lead pastor of the conservative Legacy Church in Charleston, said his mother wed at And some of his friends were married at 15 and But times have changed. Marriage is a covenant relationship with God that should be undertaken seriously, he said.
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The state health department provided data to The Post and Courier related to underage marriages from to — the most recent year available. It shows fewer than 10 counties in recent years have issued marriage licenses to teenagers under 16, including Aiken, Horry, Lexington, Berkeley, Spartanburg and Greenville. Marriage records are public, but DHEC refused to release any names. Lewis was in high school. Winters said she was 11 or 12 at the time, a middle-schooler.
You can visit the site by clicking HERE. I do not recommend to any couple to use their copy of the Marriage License and Certificate to transact business.
Register of Deeds
This is your copy to keep, frame, put away, and should only be used in an emergency. Say you travel to the Social Security office to have your name changed and in the commission of the clerk making a copy of your certificate, it is accidentally caught in a paper jam. Say the clerk fouled up the copy and instead of putting the misprinted copy in the shredder, accidentally shreds your original.
Marriage License requests can go as far back as in the Greenville County database and requests can be made by either walking in to the office or by mail. If you do not have a Social Security card and are not eligible to receive one, it is possible to obtain a letter from the Social Security Administration Office stating that you are unable to obtain it.
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