Last week, the Florida Senate voted unanimously to end child marriage in the state and set the minimum age of marriage at 18, with no exceptions.
This week, the House Judiciary Committee amended the legislation to permit the marriage of a pregnant 16- or 17-year-old, with parental consent. It also limits the age difference between the two spouses to two years.
But Venice’s state representative, Republican Julio Gonzalez, voted against the ban.
He cast a no vote saying it wouldn’t allow members of the military to bring their 16- and 17-year-old lovers with them when they receive out-of-state assignments.
He told the AP, “A lot of things happen when we turn 16. A lot of us are romantically involved and maybe have made a commitment to life to someone who is about to join the military.”
He continued, saying, “For us to, as a state, say that we’re in a position to pass judgment on the quality and trueness of your love after you hit 16 years of age, to tell you that you will be forced to not accompany your spouse, wherever that spouse may go, I think is an overstepping of our legislative authority.”