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North Carolina has made it harder for pedophiles to marry children. The state Senate unanimously approved a new bill raising the legal marrying age from 14 to 16.

Senator Vickie Sawyer initially pushed to raise the marrying age from 14 to 18, saying most child marriages involved pedophilia and abuse and ended in divorce.

"If you can't rent an apartment or drive a car ... or get a tattoo before you're 18, why should you be able to get married?" Sawyer said.

But her older male colleagues convinced her that their mothers and grandmothers got married young and lived happy, if difficult, lives, according to WRAL.

The International Center for Research on Women reviewed marriage licenses in the state from 2000 to 2019 and found more than 4,000 minors had applied to be married in that time period.

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In most of the applications an adult male was marrying a child. Such relationships would be considered statutory rape, a felony, in other states.

Sen. Danny Britt amended the proposal to leave the four-year age difference restriction in place, making it illegal for a man older than 20 to marry a child.

16- and 17-year-olds still need parental consent or approval from a court to get married.

Both the legislation and Britt's amendment passed by a vote of 49-0 on Wednesday. The bill now moves on to the House.

Most NC residents who commented on the article were stunned to learn they live in a state that legalizes pedophilia. Many had no idea such an archaic law was still on the books.

One Twitter user wrote "What the actual f***? We're a pedophile state?"

Another user wrote, "Please help bring this state into the 21st century... this should not be JUST happening... grown ass folks out here shouldn't be getting married. Y'all letting kids get married and writing articles about it."

And a third tweeted, "16 is still a child who should not be married. Just because earlier generations did doesn’t make it right or ok now. #endchildmarriageinN."