Mistake in Ark. law allows toddlers to marry with parental OK

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Governor Beebe may have to call legislators back to the Capitol to change a law passed this year that would allow Arkansans of any age -- even infants -- to marry if their parents allow it.

Bill sponsor Representative Will Bond says the legislation was intended to establish 18 as the minimum age to marry but was intended to allow pregnant teenagers to marry with parental consent. An extraneous "not" in the bill, however, allows anyone who is not pregnant to marry at any age if the parents allow it.

Bond says the way the bill came out clearly did not the express the intent of legislators.

The Arkansas Legislative Council says the change needed to fix the law is too great for the code revision commission to handle. That's because eliminating the legal age for marrying went beyond the scope of an ordinary technical error.

The commission will likely have to meet in the coming weeks to undo a change it made to the law, and several lawmakers said a special session may be necessary.

Senator Sue Madison of Fayetteville, says the bill would attract pedophiles to Arkansas.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)