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“Trying to eliminate or mitigate sexual exploitation of children is just a benefit to this specific piece of legislation.”

South Dakota state Rep. Kadyn Wittman, of Sioux Falls, regarding the legislative proposal to increase the legal marriage age in the state to 18. The House State Affairs Committee rejected the bill and let current law stand, which allows 16- and 17-year-olds marry if they have the consent of a parent or guardian. Between 2000 and 2020, 838 minors got married in the state and 81 percent were minor girls being wed to adult men. (Associated Press — Jan. 30, 2024)

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