End Child Marriage in the U.S.

Target: Tom Price, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Goal: Call for the end of underage marriage in the United States.

It may seem startling, but the majority of states in the U.S. still permit underage marriage as long as there is parental consent. In 27 states, no legal minimum age exists. In a disturbing example of this published in the New York Times, a Florida woman has recently revealed that she was forced to marry her rapist at age 11 due to her family’s strict religious views, and was made to give birth at age 10.

There have been recent legislation attempts in a number of states to end underage marriage. Just this month, a bill in New Jersey which would have raised the minimum age of marriage to 18 was shot down after Governor Chris Christie vetoed it due to concerns it would violate some religious traditions.

Religious and cultural practices cannot be allowed to violate children’s basic rights or health. When girls are married and forced to give birth as preteens, they face many potential complications during pregnancy and labor due to their age. Furthermore, underage marriage has been proven to increase the likelihood of mental illness, high school dropout rates, and lifelong poverty.

Sign this petition to tell the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services leader that underage marriage presents a significant public health risk and must be severely condemned so that it may be brought to an end in the U.S. once and for all.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Price,

I am deeply disturbed that underage marriage is still allowed to occur in the United States, especially in instances where there is no legal minimum age required as long as parental consent exists. As a result, we now know there have been instances of children as young as 11 or 12 forced into marriage, sometimes to adults who have abused or raped them.

Girls who are forced to marry and have children before they are physically and emotionally ready face many health challenges, both physically and mentally. Underage marriage has furthermore been shown to be related to both higher high school dropout rates and poverty.

For this reason, I urge you to pressure states to put an end to underage marriage, so that no more children in the U.S. are forced to forfeit their childhood prematurely.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Shortredhead78

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9 Comments

  1. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    it is too early for children to get married early unless they’re adults!

  2. Thora Degu says:

    It’s high time all these various so-called “Religions” woke up to the 21st century. Stop harking back to ludicrous and idiotic Medieval/anarchic practices and update your worshipping to the realities of the modern world! Things have changed since thousands of years ago BC! The US constitution may offer you the Freedom to worship of your own peculiar brands of religion, that’s your own bag, but do not force your views on the majority of the sensible US public and ignore the safety and sanity of these poor minors; that is why a minimum age MUST be decided by all 50 states asap.
    As most religious dogma clearly favours some sort of male dominance that generally results in female suppression, these “marriages” that include children or young girls, who are not ready emotionally, mentally or indeed physically, are yet another gross extension of the general sexual abuse (and YES, it all comes down to that) that this practice thinly disguises.

    • Well said! Whatever religions teach that they have the right to coerce or force children into marriage, then children need protection from those religions. This protection should come in the form of strong laws against child marriage, with hefty prison sentences for violation of those laws.

    • Sheila Murphy says:

      I could not agree with you more, Thora. Our Constitution allows freedom of religion, but nowhere does it say that freedom of religion means violating the rights of girls under 17 or 18 or of any women. This country claims to be progressive, yet on the rights of women it is grossly behind many other developed countries. I am sick and tired of the idea of male dominance put forth by a bunch of medieval or earlier religions. Especially since the texts used in any sort of repression are both word of mouth (ever played that game where something is whispered to the next person in a circle and is gibberish by the fourth person?) or translated ten times from some archaic language.

  3. End Underage Marriage Globally!

  4. Rosslyn Osborne says:

    Girls Must be Educated:-
    ‘Although both parents share in the overall responsibility of educating the children, the Mother is given recognition as the first educator of humanity, and she must be carefully prepared for this task.
    Her education is more necessary and important than that of man, for woman is the trainer of the child from its infancy. If she be defective and imperfect herself the child will necessarily be deficient; therefore imperfection of woman implies a condition of imperfection in all mankind, for it is the mother who rears, nurtures and guides the growth of the child.
    For this reason, the education of each child is compulsory. If there is not money enough in a family to educate both the girl and the boy the money must be dedicated to the girl’s education, for she is the potential Mother.’ Baha’i Faith Writings

  5. DAM THERE STUPID EVIL RELIGION, NO RELIGION SHOULD FORCE CHILREN TO MARRY EVER & THIS 2000 YEAR OLD TRADITION DOES NOT BELONG IN THE 21st CENTURY, IT HAS TO BE BANNED IN ALL STATES & TO BE FORCED TO MARRY YOUR RAPIST THAT IS A DOUBLE CRIME AGAINST A CHILD, WHY WOULD ANY CARING PARENT FORCE A CHILD TO MARRY THERE RAPIST, A CARING PARENT WOULD DO EVERYTHING TO PROTECT THEIR CHILD & BRING THE RAPIST TO JUSTICE, NOT MAKE THE CHILD MARRY THAT RAPIST, THAT IS SO EVIL TO MAKE YOUR CHILD MARRY HER RAPIST, THESE PARENTS SHOULD BE CHARGED WITH CHILD ABUSE.

  6. Don’t understand how a Religion approves of pedophilia!
    It is illegal on our continent and should be punished accordingly! If the offenders don’t like it then send them back home. What if Religion necessitates human sacrifices (as experienced in the past) do we allow it?

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