Is child marriage still legal in the United States?

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Between 2000 and 2018, over 300,000 children and teenagers were legally married in the United States as the result of forced marriages, according to the statistics from Unchained at Last, a nonprofit that provides assistance to women and girls trapped in forced marriages.

There has been difficulty in passing legislation that prohibits the marriage of minors. Currently, there are just ten states in the country where the marriage of a minor is considered illegal.

Neither conservative nor progressive quarters are in favor of making 18 the legal age of marriage, as they believe the law should be changed.

When Genevieve Meyer was fourteen years old, she decided to start hanging out with a neighbor in order to escape the busy schedule of her family.

As her friendship grew between her and the 42-year-old father of two who had recently divorced after being married for many years, it quickly became a sexual one. She contacted the authorities after finding out about Meyer’s death when her mother eventually learned about it.

Ultimately, the neighbour and Meyer’s mother came to an agreement that the youngster and Meyer should marry in order to dismiss any charges that may have been brought against them.

It was agreed that Meyer’s mother would receive a portion of the neighbor’s earnings as compensation for trimming trees.

Meyer, who is now 43 years old, was taken aback by her mother’s announcement when she learned about the arrangement.

Meyer said, “My first thought was that 14-year-olds don’t get married, so I immediately had that thought.”. “However, I was wrong about that,” Meyer said.

These figures were calculated based on information from marriage certificates provided by the organization.

Despite the fact that according to Unchained at Last, children as young as 10 years old have been coerced into marriage, the majority of the minors who were coerced into marriage were 16 or 17 years old at the time of their marriage.

There is a significant difference between girls and boys in the number of people who get married before they turn 18. A study by a non-profit organisation found that 86% of minors who were married between 2000 and 2018 were girls, with only 14% being boys. Most of these girls married grown men when they were in their twenties and thirties.

Founder and CEO of Unchained at Last Fraidy Reiss said, “This type of thing happens every day. This can be attributed to a number of factors, such as outdated, archaic and dangerous laws that encourage this type of behavior.”

The majority of states in the country have allowed people to marry before they turn 18 up until 2017. In the past few years, ten states have passed laws aimed at preventing this practice from being practiced.

With the approval of legislation raising the legal age of marriage from 16 to 18 in 2018, Delaware became the first state in the nation to ban child marriage.

There were a number of states that raised the legal age to marry to 18 in the following years: Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, and most recently, Michigan became the latest state to raise the age to 18.

Despite the fact that more than half of the states in the US still permit 16- and 17-year-olds to marry with parental approval, according to Tahirih Justice Centre, an organization dedicated to protecting women and children dealing with gender-based violence.

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