Ban Underage Marriage to Protect Children From Sexual Predators

Target: Kamala D. Harris, Vice President of the United States

Goal: Repeal the laws that permit underage marriage in the United States.

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights categorizes marriages below the age of 18 as a serious violation. It’s a shame that most states in the USA have laws permitting child marriage. The latest data reveals that only seven states have banned child marriage without exception, in some places the laws came into effect only recently. These states are Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. Two territories, American Samoa and US Virgin Islands have also forbidden this practice. In stark contrast to the above seven states, there is no statutory minimum age for this shameful act in seven other states. These are West Virginia, Oklahoma, Washington, Mississippi, New Mexico, Michigan, and California.

A study by Unchained at Last indicates that within the last twenty years, approximately 300,000 minors were legally married in America. Most of these incidents were between a minor girl and an adult man. Of these, about 60,000 marriages were at such a young age that would have been otherwise termed as a sex crime. Worse still, child marriage laws can be used as a valid defense to statutory rape. Furthermore, the framework of existing laws restricts vital legal rights to minors. Restrictions include divorce, entering a shelter, leaving home, seeking a protective order, and retaining an attorney.

The problem in the United States is far more critical than in many other countries where it continues illegally. Critics allege the United States of following a double standard, condemning this practice in developing nations, whereas letting it continue within the country. Underage marriages can have devastating impacts on the child, leading to lifelong physical and emotional scarring. It denies the right to education, to get a job, and involves domestic violence. At present, there are no federal laws prohibiting child marriage.

This needs to end now. The laws must be revoked and sexual predators must be brought to justice. Sign this petition to demand the administration pursue this matter with the highest priority.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Vice President Harris,

The United States of America still allows child marriage in most states. There is no statutory minimum age for marrying a child in seven states, including Washington, West Virginia, and California.

Statistics show that in the last twenty years, approximately 300,000 minors were legally married in the US. Of these, about 60,000 incidents involved such a spousal age gap that would have otherwise constituted a sex offense.

There are no federal laws prohibiting this shameful practice. Only seven states have set the minimum age for marriage at 18 with no exceptions.

We hope that you would do all in your power to put a full end to this practice.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Aiden Frazier


One Comment

  1. how is this even possible in a western country! I can’t belive the US is so diminished in civil rights.

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