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Court OKs marriage for 12-year-old girls

June 16, 2006 at 8:20 AM

DENVER, June 16 (UPI) -- A Colorado appeals court ruling makes legal a common law marriage between a 14-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl.

The ruling reverses a lower court finding that a 15-year-old girl was too young for a common law union, the Rocky Mountain News reported Friday.

While not firmly establishing a minimum age, the three-judge panel noted that Colorado recognizes English common law unions, which legalize such marriages at 12 for girls and 14 for boys.

The decision involves a Weld County case in which a girl identified only as J.M.H. began living with Willis Lee Rouse in 2002 when she was 14 and he was 34, the newspaper said.

Rouse is now a 38-year-old inmate at the Fremont Correctional Facility, serving four years for stalking and escape, the Rocky Mountain News reported, while J.M.H., in the midst of a dependency and neglect action, recently turned 18.

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