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Arkansas, Arkansas, I Just Love Ol' Arkansas

Today's installment, from the great state of Arkansas, in the New York Times's ongoing series on hilarious state legislative blunders:

Last year, the state legislature botched a law intended to make 18 the minimum age for marriage, instead mistakenly removing the limit entirely.

As long as they had the consent of their parents, children--no matter how young--could have demanded matrimonial bonds under the law passed in error in 2007: “In order for a person who is younger than eighteen (18) years of age and who is not pregnant to obtain a marriage license, the person must provide the county clerk with evidence of parental consent to the marriage.”

The idea was to allow an exception for teenagers who were pregnant. The problem was with the “not,” which crept in by accident, according to Representative Will Bond, who sponsored the bill.

Interestingly, in correcting its error, the state reverted to its old law, under which the minimum age for marriage (with parental consent) is 17 for boys and 16 for girls. Is there any modern justification for the sex-based discrepancy?

--Josh Patashnik