28 Mar 2018

American Samoans seek support for defeated marriage age bill

1:55 pm on 28 March 2018

A group of women in American Samoa are trying to gather community support for a defeated bill seeking to increase the marriage age for girls from 14 years-old to 18.

No caption

Photo: supplied

The Senate rejected the House bill last Monday, with nine senators voting against it and only seven supporting it.

The current law sets the age for girls to marry at 14 and that of boys at 18.

The women's group, Pae ma Auli, which literally means to put in place and iron out, feel that the majority of residents want the current law changed.

A member of the group, Ipu Lefiti, said they are organizing a survey to garner public opinion on the marriage age bill.

After the survey, the group, Pae ma Auli, will circulate a petition to collect signatures in support of increasing the marriage age of girls to 18 years-old.

Mrs Lefiti said that the petition would represent the voice of the people on an important issue for the community.

The House has approved by unanimous vote the bill to make 18 the marriage age for girls.

The rejection of the bill by the Senate has attracted angry reactions online.

Pae ma Auli hoped that their survey results and petition would get the legislation passed if it is reintroduced in the next session of the Fono.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs