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America’s Child-Marriage Problem

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posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 10:13 AM
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IN the United States today, thousands of children under 18 have recently taken marital vows — mostly girls married to adult men, often with approval from local judges. In at least one case, a 10-year-old boy was legally married.

How is this possible? The minimum marriage age in most states is 18, but every state allows exceptions under which children under age 18 can wed.

The first common exception is for children marrying with “parental consent.” Most states allow children age 16 or 17 to marry if their parents sign the marriage license application.

Of course, one person’s “parental consent” can be another’s “parental coercion,” but state laws typically do not call for anyone to investigate whether a child is marrying willingly. Even in the case of a girl’s sobbing openly while her parents sign the application and force her into marriage, the clerk usually has no authority to intervene. In fact, in most states there are no laws that specifically forbid forced marriage.

The second common marriage-age exception is for children marrying with judicial approval. This exception lowers the marriage age below 16 in many states, and many states do not specify a minimum age. Judges in those states can allow the marriage even of an elementary school student.

But judges would never do that, right?

Unchained at Last, a nonprofit I founded to help women escape from arranged, forced marriages, recently retrieved health department data on the ages of people married in New Jersey, where 16- and 17-year-olds may wed with parental consent, and children under 15 may marry with judicial approval.

Unfortunately, the available records do not include any identifying details about marriages beyond the ages of the participants. Nevertheless, the data show that 3,499 children were married in New Jersey between 1995 and 2012. Most were age 16 or 17 and married with parental consent, but 178 were between ages 10 and 15, meaning a judge approved their marriages.

Shockingly, 91 percent of the children were married to adults, often at ages or with age differences that could have triggered statutory-rape charges, not a marriage license. A judge in 2006 approved the marriage of a 10-year-old boy to an 18-year-old woman. A judge in 1996 allowed a 12-year-old girl to marry a 25-year-old man.

Source: www.nytimes.com...



Wow, this article has left me confused. Firstly I was under impression this never happen in USA, but after reading this... it is scary! Who in clear mind would allow 10 year old to marry?! Or 12 year old to marry to 25 year old?! I know there has been some topics regarding child-adult marriages elsewhere in world, but just to think that this is possible to happen in developed world?! Wow..

Why there is no more info about this? How we will prevent this from happening??

What is your take on this issue??


Data after 2010 excludes New York City, where statistics are kept separately. Still, the state data show that in 2011 alone, a 14-year-old married a 26-year-old, a 15-year-old was wed to a 28-year-old, another 15-year-old was wed to a 25-year-old and a 15-year-old married someone age “35 to 39.” All of those marriages were approved by New York judges


Moderators: I was not sure where to place this, but as it is current event and ongoing, I place it here. Feel free to move topic if you think its in incorrect subforum.
edit on 14-10-2015 by SuperFrog because: (no reason given)

edit on 14-10-2015 by SuperFrog because: (no reason given)




posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 10:17 AM
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a reply to: SuperFrog

You thought this didn't happen in America? I can only assume that's because you have never considered it, it's fairly much a given that a lot of states (from my understanding particularly in the South) allow this. Sheesh, Jerry Lee Lewis married his underage cousin back in the '50's so it's not like there is no previous form on this.



posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 10:23 AM
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a reply to: uncommitted

Yes, I was under impression that legal age for marriage is 18 (as it should be), but those numbers just scare me away.

I guess I've never thought about that before.



posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 10:36 AM
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a reply to: SuperFrog

I was pregnant at sixteen and married a few days after 17. He was 21. I became an emancipated minor to get it done. However, my folks did not exactly approve at first but they agreed eventually. I think at that point, they were just as happy to have me out of the house and were worried about what the neighbors would think either way. He became physically, verbally and emotionally abusive after the wedding. I was too young, but... My parents house was physically, verbally and emotionally abusive too so sometimes you take your chances to get out. In my case, I escaped from one Hell into a worse one.



posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 10:36 AM
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Each state can make its own marriage laws. Each state is responsible. They're doing a bad job, IMO. But the only way this will change is if those states' laws change.



posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 10:39 AM
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This sort of thing happens all the time.

And has been happening for thousands of years.

There is already judicial review happening. So why the worry?



posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 10:52 AM
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a reply to: redhorse

When I was growing up in the 70s as a young teen that was the practice in my mostly dominated Catholic Island, whenever a girl will become with child it was the common practice to have her married as soon as possible to the father of the child, then the families will take care of them as most of the time they were teens themselves.

Also it was the families that made the choices to have their daughters married early, no so much for boys.

I remember during my years in junior high many girls were gone within a year do to getting marry.

But then things changed, laws were passed and things changed.



posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 10:55 AM
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originally posted by: redhorse
a reply to: SuperFrog

I was pregnant at sixteen and married a few days after 17. He was 21. I became an emancipated minor to get it done. However, my folks did not exactly approve at first but they agreed eventually. I think at that point, they were just as happy to have me out of the house and were worried about what the neighbors would think either way. He became physically, verbally and emotionally abusive after the wedding. I was too young, but... My parents house was physically, verbally and emotionally abusive too so sometimes you take your chances to get out. In my case, I escaped from one Hell into a worse one.



Thank you for sharing your story. I am sorry that at young age you had to go through hell like that.

Question is, how to help kids not to go though hell like that.



posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 10:58 AM
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a reply to: SuperFrog

I've brought this up several times here on ATS. People like to talk negatively about other countries & cultures for allowing it even though it's perfectly legal right here. Here's a wikipedia list of the legal ages for marriage by each state.

Age of marriage in the United States

And anyone from the South can tell you forced marriages are here too (they probably exist in other regions, too). When teen couples get pregnant, many times the families will get pissed & demand marriages "or else". Forced abortions happen like this too.

The article makes it sound a bit sensationalized though. But the major lessons should be 1. not to judge other cultures for something your culture also allows, and 2. to be cautious with dramatic articles because the truth may be much more complex or dull.


originally posted by: uncommitted
a reply to: SuperFrog

You thought this didn't happen in America? I can only assume that's because you have never considered it, it's fairly much a given that a lot of states (from my understanding particularly in the South) allow this. Sheesh, Jerry Lee Lewis married his underage cousin back in the '50's so it's not like there is no previous form on this.



It's actually all over the country like the list I linked above shows. For example, in Massachusetts, it's 18 for first marriage, 14 (male) 12 (female) with parental and/or judicial consent (according to that link).
edit on 14-10-2015 by enlightenedservant because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 11:07 AM
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At 16 I married a 24 year old, due to Religion. Jehovahs Witness. They believed Armageddon was coming in 1975, so the teenagers in that age group were basically married off.

After 6 horrid abusive years, I walked away from the religion, my husband, and my whole world, with 3 kids under 3 years old in tow. My mom didnt talk to me for almost 30 years.

I probably dont have to tell you how a mistake I made at 16 screwed up my life. The only good thing was the three awesome people I brought into this world. At least I was able to raise them without the Religion, but still the whole "armegeddon is coming" created a fear of living that has taken years to overcome. Or have I? Im still on ATS. lol



posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 11:11 AM
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What is the problem?



posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 11:16 AM
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It happens, but to state it is "problem" is a bit misleading. it doesn't happen in huge numbers and like the poster above stated, there are often circumstances leading to the marriage like pregnancies. It is hardly "culturally accecpted". The author of this article is playing fast and loose with the numbers to make it look like it is more common than it really is.

For example, in the article, she states "Unfortunately, the available records do not include any identifying details about marriages beyond the ages of the participants. Nevertheless, the data show that 3,499 children were married in New Jersey between 1995 and 2012. Most were age 16 or 17 and married with parental consent, but 178 were between ages 10 and 15, meaning a judge approved their marriages."

So 3499 children were married in NJ over the span of 17 years or 205 cases per year. She then states that most were 16 or 17. It isn't "most". It is 95%! She states 178 were 15 or under so 178 / 3499 = 5% of the marriages involved kids 15 or under. I'd wager that in most of these cases there was a pregnancy involved. So basically 10 per year are 15 or under. I'd wager 9/10 are 14 & 15 year olds who got pregnant which does happen. Heck, rapper lil wayne got his ex pregnant at 14.

I'm not saying these marriages are good thing, but this is just alarmism.
edit on 14-10-2015 by Edumakated because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 11:21 AM
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look everyone knows the age thing is largely arbitrary. More and more science is showing our frontal lobes arent even done developing until we are well into our 20s, even to 25! If thats true arent we ALL children until we have FULL iintellectual capacity? Because thats almost always the argument against allowing children to love, smoke, drink, drive or fight (military).

Its mostly a joke and social control mechanism. Lawmakers dont really care about kids.....if they did people would hang from a rope for routinely shooting, maiming, drugging, miseducating (brainwashing) or abusing them. Dont worry though the same State that once smiled on children working 16 hour days in factories in the US and STILL smiles on it being done in other countries will be more than happy to extend the nanny state to everyone else who they view as ignorant as children.



posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 11:40 AM
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A judge in 2006 approved the marriage of a 10-year-old boy to an 18-year-old woman.


Without all the data I can think of a few ways this could be legitimate:

For example: Say a 10 year and 18 year old grow up in the same house hold, not blood relatives but raised together as siblings by a parent. Say that parent dies … marriage may be the easiest and surest way for the 18 year old to keep the 10 year old and finish raising him.
One bazar case like this in 18 years doesn’t seem hard to believe.



posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 11:40 AM
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originally posted by: deadeyedick
What is the problem?


If there is a problem I guess it's defining the age when you are mature enough to understand the commitment you are entering into. It also raises the question of at what age you have the maturity to agree to have sex without either you or your spouse being considered a child rapist, so yeah, there are legitimate questions, particularly as in most western countries child marriage used to be around the joining of two dynasties whereas now it's more around convenience of dealing with where someone has got someone else pregnant.

Is that an issue? Kind of partly one to do with your own take on the world I guess, partly on whether you want to watch TV talk shows (I use the term loosely) with titles such as 'I married him when I was 10 and he went and screwed my 9 year old best friend' I guess.



posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 11:43 AM
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I was best man at my friend's wedding. They eloped. She had just turned 16. They were married for 40 years until he passed away. They have 14 grand children.



posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 12:59 PM
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a reply to: uncommitted

Not many adults are ready for marriage.

I do not think age has as much to do with it as other factors do and every child develops at their own schedule somewhat.

It is just too hard to find a single law that can handle all the variables.

In many cases even the divorced would go and do it all again at a young age.

I think the real problem is using age instead of maturity level in such cases.

I mean really should we go out today and lock up every 18 yo. that is having sex with a minor?

If we got of on an authoritative stance claiming no exceptions to the law then our world would seem much different than it is.



posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 02:10 PM
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originally posted by: deadeyedick
a reply to: uncommitted
I mean really should we go out today and lock up every 18 yo. that is having sex with a minor?


Not sure your example has anything to do with for example this:


Still, the state data show that in 2011 alone, a 14-year-old married a 26-year-old, a 15-year-old was wed to a 28-year-old, another 15-year-old was wed to a 25-year-old and a 15-year-old married someone age “35 to 39.” All of those marriages were approved by New York judges


I am just waiting to hear someone mention 'tradition'...

There is a reason we should abolish those 'traditions', and protect our kids from abuses like this.
edit on 14-10-2015 by SuperFrog because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 02:17 PM
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a reply to: SuperFrog
Srry the world will not revolve around what you personally feel is abuse.

Their is real violence taking place against some that can not stop it and what you have highlighted only takes away from real victims.

It is simple that if a person chooses to be involved in an act then that is not rape.

We have no child marriage problem



posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 02:24 PM
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My paternal grandparents grew up as neighbors. He was 16, and she was 15 when they married. They were one of the happiest, most committed couples out there. Raised six together, including my dad. After she died, he visited her grave every day to talk to her for the five years before he, too, passed on.

So you want to protect people from themselves and their own versions of morality and tradition and custom?

In some cases I would agree with you, and in others I wouldn't. There is a reason indeed why social engineering via the law is usually a bad idea. There are already legal protections in place to try to prevent what you are worried about, and without knowing the details of every instance, all we see are the "scary" numbers and the spin the article puts on them.




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