Do Not Force Underage Girls to Marry

Jim_Bob_and_Michelle_Duggar_by_JIm_Bob_Duggar

Target: Vaughn Ohlman

Goal: Do not organize religious retreat for purposes of marrying off children.

Vaughn Ohlman, a patriarch of the Christian right-wing “Quiverfull” movement which encourages adherents to refuse birth control and have very large families at an early age, plans to hold a gathering where families from far and wide will gather for the “Get Them Married!” retreat. At the retreat, fathers will marry off their daughters to adolescent males from other Quiverfull families, without their daughters’ consent.

The $1,200 per family weekend retreat is “designed to bring together like-minded families (and their unmarried young men and women) who are committed to young, fruitful marriage and to help them overcome the barriers which have kept their children unmarried.” Quiverfull families will spend three days with these “like-minded” families, sharing their devotion to ideas of unquestioned patriarchy, female submissiveness, and the sheltering and indoctrinating of children who are to be married young, so as to have as many children as possible.

“Married young” is a broad term, very generalized. It has different definitions depending upon whom you ask. But, if one were to ask Vaughn Ohlman:

“When do boys become men and girls become women? When are their bodies developed enough to have children? When do they begin to develop romantic interest in the opposite sex, and when does fornication begin to become an issue? The Bible provides many reasons for marriage, and most if not all of them demonstrate that marriage typically ought to happen in the youth (as in, before the age of 20).”

More disturbing than forcing adolescent boys and girls into the bonds of matrimony is that some fathers will expect a “bride price” for their daughters, effectively turning them into prostitutes.

Sign the petition to demand Vaughn Ohlman abandon his plans to operate a retreat where young boys and girls are forced into marriages and where the young girls are sold into matrimonial slavery.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Ohlman,

Your plans for the “Get Them Married!” retreat highlight and endorse a very disturbing practice that is intolerable from a human rights perspective. Young people should not be forced into the bonds of matrimony by their mothers and fathers, the latter of whom also have the express privilege of receiving compensation for their daughters. This practice amounts of sexual slavery and prostitution, two things which are not only abominable in the context of human rights, but are also very illegal.

Children are not property, nor vessels through which to perpetuate a horrific, unethical, and illegal belief system. It is with this in mind that we urge you to abandon plans to hold the weekend retreat, “Get Them Married!” We understand that your beliefs are important to you, and may very well be important to Quiverfull families nationwide, but if we’re being honest, some beliefs cannot be tolerated, much less endorsed.

This proposed retreat, and the entire belief system centering around the subjugation, coercion, and sale of minors into matrimony, must be abandoned.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Jim Bob Duggar

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