Church leader lauds increase in minimum marriage age for Christians

Church of Pakistan President Bishop Azad Marshall on Tuesday lauded the Senate of Pakistan for unanimously approving the Christian Marriage (Amendment) Bill 2023 which increases the minimum marriage age limit for members of the Christian faith from 16 to 18 years.

“It was our longstanding demand to increase the age limit for marriage to 18 years for both Christian boys and girls and we are grateful to the Senate of Pakistan for passing this bill. This legislation will curb early marriages of minor girls, especially in rural areas, and act as a safeguard for their health, education and overall wellbeing,” Bishop Marshall said in a press statement.

The bill, presented by Senator Kamran Michael, sought amendment in Section 60 of the Christian Marriage Act 1872 to increase the marriage age limit for boys from 16 to 18 and for girls from 13 to 18.

“We believe this bill also represents a crucial advancement in protecting our young girls from forced conversions and sexual abuse. We hope that the incoming government will make necessary legislation to criminalize forced conversions of minority girls,” he said.

The senior church leader said that he hoped that other clauses unanimously agreed upon by all church denominations, particularly those related to the dissolution of Christian marriage, would also be considered by parliament in due course of time.

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