Gov. Mike Beebe has made the correct decision on the hysterical alarum about the age-of-consent-to-marry law. No special session is needed. The law on the books, as codified by the duly constituted Code Revision Commission, makes it clear that no one under 18 can marry, except in case of a pregnancy and then only with a court's consent. It would take a lawsuit on behalf of an inherently stupid proposition -- an under-age marriage -- to determine whether the Code Revision Commission had gone too far in cleaning up sloppy drafting.
“While I am focused on the safety and welfare of Arkansas’s children, there does not appear to be an imminent crisis that requires calling the legislature into a special session for the Arkansas marriage age law. Additional legislation will eventually be needed to fix the drafting error that was made in this bill. However, the legislature clearly intended to protect children, not put them at risk. Historically, the courts, and especially the Arkansas Supreme Court, have repeatedly used common sense in cases where bill-drafting errors have created absurdities. I will discuss the continuing issues regarding code revision this week with members of the Legislative Council to ensure that our county clerks have the discretion to continue following the current revised code. However, barring a crisis or legal case that changes the circumstances, I do not plan to immediately call a special session.”