Parliament Adopts Public Defender's Legislative Proposal in the First Reading

On November 26, 2015, the Parliament adopted a bill drafted on the basis of the Public Defender’s legislative proposal in the first reading. According to the bill, marriage registration rules for persons between 16 and 18 years of age will be changed so that only the court will be authorized to issue a marriage license. Final adoption of the bill will invalidate the current rule of parental consent, which in practice has a very negative influence on early marriage cases.

The Public Defender welcomes the Parliament's support for the legislative proposal. It is of particular importance that in the drafting process the Public Defender’s proposal has been further sophisticated and a number of important circumstances have been ascertained.

Preparation and submission of the proposal was preceded by a long survey carried out by the Public Defender’s Office, during which necessary information and arguments were collected. In addition, analysis of Georgia's commitments under international treaties and practice of successful countries in terms of gender equality served as grounds for preparation of the legislative proposal.

We may say that the public is not ready to implement such a change, but we should do not forget the scales and seriousness of the problem of early marriage. Legislative changes should take into view the public acceptance, but we would like to underline the principles of the Convention on the Right of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, that refer to protection of the best interests of children/girls, which is superior to the customs and practices established in the society.

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