What sense does it make that you can have sex at 16, but you can't see an 18-certificate film at the cinema because it might contain adult sexual material? You can do it, but you can't watch it – yet you can't get a sexually transmitted disease from a film! And how can you be mature enough to get married at 16, but not mature enough to vote until you are 18?

There should be a single age at which you legally become an adult, deemed capable of making important decisions for yourself. This is the age at which you should be allowed to vote, have sex, buy alcohol, gamble and get married.

Why is this idea important?

At the moment, you can get married at 16, but you're not yet an adult, so if your parents don't agree to the marriage, you have to get the consent of a court. If you are under 18, your parents remain responsible for you, yet you can leave home without their permission, so how can they fulfill their responsibilities?

At one stroke, we can get rid of a whole bunch of illogical anomalies and complicated exceptions and remove many confusions about what is and isn't allowed at different ages. This could mean less bureaucracy and a simplified legal position with people's rights and responsibilities made much clearer.

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