Opinion

Support Amendment 1

Amendment 1, one of three state constitutional amendments on Tuesday's ballot, would delete the section of the state constitution that says an unmarried woman must be at least 14 years old to consent to sex.

In a sense, this amounts to constitutional housekeeping. South Carolina's Constitution is loaded down with extraneous provisions that have no place in the Constitution.

The 113-year-old constitutional provision on the age of consent has been ignored for several decades after the state Supreme Court gave the Legislature permission to set the age wherever it wanted. State law already has been set for both sexes at 16.

There is no danger in voting "yes" to remove the constitutional provision. It is an outdated measure from an earlier age when girls routinely got married at 14. The Legislature is unlikely to set an age of consent lower than 16 -- and certainly would not consider lowering it to 14 again.

Many think current state age-of-consent laws need reform. Two years ago, lawmakers passed a law that allows 17-year-olds to legally have sex with 14-year-olds, and no move has been made to revise that law.

Clearly, though, these issues are best resolved in the Legislature, not as part of the state constitution. We urge voters to support Amendment 1.

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