"(they have) applied to the Hobart Magistrates Court for permission to marry on religious grounds... (they) are Jehovah's Witnesses and are not allowed to live together before they are married."Under Australian Federal law, to do so they need:
"...parental or guardian consent and an order from a judge or magistrate." (my emphasis)Plus:
"Any two persons under the age of 18 years may not marry each other."Of course, if they just want to shack up, bonk each other's brains out and spit out a couple of sprogs, they're welcome to in all States from the age of 16, apart from Tasmania and South Australia where they'd have to wait until they were 17.
Which is, in fact, what Stephanie and Owen did in part until they re-embraced their religion. In fact, the timeline is such that they may even have lived together while Stephanie was 15:
"Owen had "faded out" of his religion and they began living together... They lived together for two years and in that time Stephanie joined a Bible study group and became a Jehovah's Witness. That led to their living arrangements having to change because of the religion's views on living together before marriage."It beggars belief. Two youngsters want to do the moral thing but they have to grovel to a court to get permission, while if they only want to do the wild thing, well... go for it kids, who cares?
Postscript: The irony of pulling a Google search for the Australian age of consent and finding a handy table from the Australian Institute of Sport on the first page of results does not go unnoticed. Of course our country's sports coaches need to have it spelled out to them what age they can start hitting on their students.