Teenage Marriage

Canadian pop superstar and teen heartthrob Justin Bieber (17) made headlines at the Teen Choice Awards earlier this week by never taking his mind, eyes, or hands off girlfriend and fellow singing sensation, Selena Gomez (19). The couple has been sighted enjoying each other's company over the past few weeks and speculation is growing that this G-Rated romance wants to take it to the next level - legally speaking.

Are there wedding bells in their near future? Can you imagine the lunch box sales?! In any case, because young Mr. Bieber is under the age of the majority (18), special considerations would need to be taken in his effort to have Ms. Gomez meet him at the end of the aisle.

It seems strange that you can be 16 and pregnant and become an overnight celebrity, but that a real celebrity can't be 16 and married (without parental consent, that is).

Section 5 of the Marriage Act reads as follows:

Who may marry

5. (1) Any person who is of the age of majority may obtain a licence or be married under the authority of the publication of banns, provided no lawful cause exists to hinder the solemnization.

Idem

(2) No person shall issue a licence to a minor, or solemnize the marriage of a minor under the authority of the publication of banns, except where the minor is of the age of sixteen years or more and has the consent in writing of both parents in the form prescribed by the regulations.

Not the usual note a high schooler is asking his or her parents for. Nonetheless, these situations do arise and it is important to acknowledge the proper procedure for when they do.

In Justin's case, I can't see his parents saying no. Selena seems great. But hypothetically speaking, if Justin were dating a less wholesome, more blonde star of the under-performing "Monte Carlo" (now in theatres, though I'd bet you haven't even heard of it), they might deny his request. What recourse with this love-struck young lad have were his feelings for girl #2 just as strong?

Fear not, for the aforementioned statute has him covered. Section 6 reads as follows:

Application to dispense with consent

6. (1) Where a person whose consent is required by section 5 is not available or unreasonably or arbitrarily withholds consent, the person in respect of whose marriage the consent is required may apply to a judge without the intervention of a litigation guardian for an order dispensing with the consent.

Powers of judge

(2) The judge shall hear the application in a summary manner and may, in his or her discretion, make an order dispensing with the consent required by section 5.

All you need is love, really. If Mr. Bieber (and I recommend he demands being addressed as such) can convince the judge that his marriage will be as successful as his musical career, then his parents' opinion and withholding of consent will have no impact. Teens everywhere rejoice! Parents just don't understand... it has been that way since the late 80's (at least), but as long as the judges do, you can marry whomever you want once you turn 16. As long as you are willing to pay for it... literally and figuratively.

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