IT HAPPENS MORE THAN YOU THINK
CHILD USA considers “child marriage” to be a form of “forced marriage,” as minors are legally incapable of providing consent. CHILD USA defines “child marriage” as a formal marriage or informal union where one or both parties is under the age of eighteen. Today, the global rates of child marriage are high. According to UNICEF, approximately twelve million girls — or one in five — across the world are married before their eighteenth birthday each year. In the United States, child marriage is a pervasive issue with devastating domestic consequences. Between 2000 and 2018, almost 300,000 children were married in the United States alone, with approximately 30,000 to 60,000 of those marriages occurring at a spousal age difference that should have been considered a sex crime.
Because there is no federal law regulating child marriage, states are free to establish their own requirements. Child marriage remains legal or unchecked in 46 states. While most states do impose a minimum marriage age, the majority of them set that age at under 18. Additionally, the majority do not require marriage applicants to furnish official proof of their age, which allows many underage children to slip through the cracks. Other states permit the practice to continue through parental, judicial, religious, or pregnancy exceptions. Only four states — Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Rhode Island — have banned child marriage outright by requiring that both parties provide official proof that they are 18 years or older before they can obtain a marriage license.
Child marriage is a gendered practice with grave social, financial, physical, and psychological consequences. The United States Department of State has called marriage before 18 a “humans rights abuse” that “produces devastating repercussions for a girl’s life, effectively ending her childhood.” To protect children and secure their futures, the practice of child marriage must be outlawed. The movement to end child marriage and sex abuse in the United States is growing, and CHILD USA is dedicated to reforming the laws to ensure children are not married before the age of 18.
CHILD USA REPORTS
CHILD MARRIAGE: RECENT NEWS
West Virginia Passes Bill Outlawing Teen Marriages
John Raby| AP|| March 2023
The bill to end child marriage in Texas
Michael Mooney| March 1, 2023
Massachusetts poised to ban child marriage after years of effort
Steve Brown| July 26, 2022
Child marriage, with no age restriction, is still legal in Michigan. Is it time for that to change?
WWJ | August 3, 2022
Nepal Plans to Lower Age at Marriage
antosh Sharma Poudel | June 30, 2022
Child marriage on the rise in Horn of Africa as drought crisis intensifies
By Nairobi| June 29, 2022
She was on the run at 16 to escape a child marriage – today she’s a PhD holder
Tshifhiwa Tendani Mungoni| | June 27, 2022
The association between early marriage and mental disorder among young migrant and non-migrant women: a Norwegian register-based study
BMC Women’s Health| June 27, 2022