HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A proposal with bipartisan backing seeks to raise the legal marriage age to 18.

Connecticut didn’t have an age requirement for marriage until 2017. As the law stands, 16 and 17-year-olds can be married if they have parental consent and the approval of a probate court judge.

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, joined by children’s advocates, spoke in favor of the proposal on Monday.

“This issue disproportionally affects young women, and it’s our responsibility to make sure that we protect girls and young women from attempts by adults to use force or coercion,” Bysiewicz said.

One woman said she was forced to marry a 44-year-old man when she was 16.

“I was pregnant five times over the next five years,” Jenn Bradbury said. “I have two living children from that. I tried to get away many times. He was very emotionally abusive toward me, toward my children. Very controlling, made me drop out of high school, so I never graduated.”