Child marriage, which activists describe as one or both parties entering a union while under age 18, remains legal in 37 US states. There are no federal laws against it, meaning minors can marry, with parental consent, before they can vote, drink, or buy lottery tickets in the majority of the country. Some states have a minimum marriage age on the books, which ranges from 15 to 18. Four states – California, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Mississippi – do not specify any minimum age at all.

Many survivors say they felt trapped in their marriages. Some, like Kosnik, must rely on their spouses for financial support. Others are up against complicit parents, who sign off on forced unions. In many states, statuatory rape is not a crime within marriage, creating a legal loophole that entices predators and increases the likelihood of sexual abuse. “Child marriage can be seen as a workaround for child rape,” said Fraidy Reiss, founder of Unchained at Last.

The US government calls child marriage a human rights abuse and has committed up to $5.3m to prevent it “in regions, countries, and communities where interventions are most needed and most likely to achieve results”. American exceptionalism would lead people to associate these regions with the global south, not the US, Gupta says. “Of course it’s prevalent here, too.”

Close to 300,000 minors were married between 2000 and 2018 in the US, according to a study conducted by Unchained at Last; a small number of them were as young as 10. Because 78% of minors who wed in that timespan were girls with adult husbands, advocates frame their cause around saving underage girls from older men.

  • drdiddlybadger@pawb.social
    link
    fedilink
    arrow-up
    105
    arrow-down
    2
    ·
    14 days ago

    The US having child marriage is one of the many shitty things about this country. We must change this urgently. It’s fucking shitty and serves no greater purpose.

    • DessertStorms@lemmy.blahaj.zone
      link
      fedilink
      arrow-up
      31
      arrow-down
      1
      ·
      edit-2
      13 days ago

      It’s fucking shitty and serves no greater purpose.

      Of course it serves a greater purpose, in the eyes of those who are in favour of it, otherwise they wouldn’t want to keep/extend it.

      Keeping women and girls in subservient vulnerable positions, and men satisfied and in positions of power (even if it’s only within their own home, where they get to then take their rage and frustration at having no real power elsewhere out on their wives and children), is what the patriarchy is all about.

      It also serve capitalism, in that the girls in these marriages are much more likely to be kept in the abusive relationship and have more kids than average, kids who will become workers (E: with both parent and children being home schooled by their respective parent or “educated” by the church, making them more easy to manipulate and exploit).

      It also serves christofascist white supremacy, which has manufactured racist nonsense like “the great replacement” theory to ensure fundamentalists only marry and reproduce within the group, ensuring its survival.

      None of these things are bugs, they are features of these systems, and until as a society we confront that, we will never be able to tear them down and be free.

    • mecfs@lemmy.world
      link
      fedilink
      arrow-up
      26
      ·
      14 days ago

      Things are (way too slowly) getting better:

      As of June 2024, 13 states have banned underage marriages, with no exception: Delaware (2018),[2]New Jersey (2018),[3] Pennsylvania (2020),[4]Minnesota (2020),[5] Rhode Island (2021),[6] New York (2021),[7] Massachusetts (2022),[8] Vermont(2023),[9] Connecticut (2023),[10] Michigan(2023),[11] Washington (2024),[12] Virginia (2024)[13] and New Hampshire (2024).[14] American SamoaU.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, all United States territories, have also ended child marriage in that time.[15][16] Several other U.S. states have similar legislation pending.[17]

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_marriage_in_the_United_States

      • jumjummy@lemmy.world
        link
        fedilink
        arrow-up
        9
        ·
        edit-2
        13 days ago

        How the hell does California, a relatively progressive state compared to many of the other US ones, still allow child marriages? I’m sure it’s those pockets of deep red outside the big cities.

        • VirtualOdour@sh.itjust.works
          link
          fedilink
          arrow-up
          6
          ·
          edit-2
          13 days ago

          I looked it up, the ACLU said it “unnecessarily intrudes on the fundamental rights of marriage without due cause” and fought prior attempts to legislate against it. Planned Parenthood were against it because they said it was a slippery slope that might affect abortion rights (I didn’t see rational for this supplied but assume they have some)

          So it wasn’t Hollywood as the other poster glibly asserted, actually movies like ‘childbrides of the ozarks’ were important in brining it to popular attention and helping initial pushes against it. Currently there are democrats pushing for legislation to ban in, supported in many case by the ‘evil Hollywood elites’ as seen from conspiracy theory world as they’re big donors and fund raisers for democratic causes but also ACLU and PP so possibly yeah they were slightly involved in the ban being resisted but not in the way suggested.

          The ACLU have since chances their stance on child marriage, I imagine planned parenthood have too but I couldn’t find that stated. Most current resistance is coming from religious focused Republicans.

          • jumjummy@lemmy.world
            link
            fedilink
            arrow-up
            2
            ·
            13 days ago

            Most current resistance is coming from religious focused Republicans.

            Yep, that’s on brand for sure.

      • work is slow@lemmy.world
        link
        fedilink
        arrow-up
        18
        ·
        14 days ago

        Sometimes I upvote/downvote posts and comments on accident while scrolling… I might be giving people too much credit though.

        • QualifiedKitten@lemmy.world
          link
          fedilink
          English
          arrow-up
          7
          ·
          14 days ago

          Same for me! The majority of the times I’ve noticed it is when I happen to scroll past the same post/comment a second time, so I wonder how many I haven’t “corrected it”?

      • Flying Squid@lemmy.world
        link
        fedilink
        arrow-up
        15
        arrow-down
        3
        ·
        14 days ago

        There is some very pathetic person who goes through my post history and just downvotes every comment regardless of what is said, meaning they have downvoted me doing things like telling someone I sympathize with them or even just me thanking someone. It’s bizarre. People think internet points matter on Lemmy when they didn’t even matter on Reddit where a tally was being kept.

  • Aux@lemmy.world
    link
    fedilink
    arrow-up
    57
    ·
    13 days ago

    What the fuck is wrong with US? It feels like I’m leaving a comment like this way too often… What the fuck?

    • Jiggle_Physics@lemmy.world
      link
      fedilink
      arrow-up
      2
      arrow-down
      1
      ·
      12 days ago

      Most of the countries in the world have exceptions to the legal marriage age being set at 18+. Most allow 16 and up, many as low an 12. This exception is for when the parents consent to the marriage. This is in line with the US. So this issue is a world issue.

      • Aux@lemmy.world
        link
        fedilink
        arrow-up
        1
        arrow-down
        1
        ·
        12 days ago

        Marriage at the age of consent (which is usually 16) is not a problem, forced arranged marriage is.

        • Jiggle_Physics@lemmy.world
          link
          fedilink
          arrow-up
          1
          arrow-down
          1
          ·
          edit-2
          10 days ago

          Marriage, under those conditions, exists for arraigned marriage, and forcing under age kids to marry for whatever reason, pregnancy, etc. to save face. I guarantee you that very few people who married at 16, are deciding to marry, and then getting their parents to consent to it. This stuff exists because of antiquated ideology. They are there for fundies, and people who still think of kids, and women, as property, regardless of religious disposition. 16 is a compromise between the religious, and far right parties, and the rest of the government.

          • Aux@lemmy.world
            link
            fedilink
            arrow-up
            1
            arrow-down
            1
            ·
            10 days ago

            If the age of consent is 16 then you don’t ask your parents for an approval. That’s the point of the age of consent.

            Stop defending forced marriages please.

            • Jiggle_Physics@lemmy.world
              link
              fedilink
              arrow-up
              1
              ·
              10 days ago

              The fuck are you talking about defending forced marriage? Do you have reading comprehension issues? Is English not your first language? The law is they can get married at 16, and often below, WITH CONSENT FROM THEIR PARENTS. I am sorry this is not jiving with your idea that this is a US problem. Most countries in the world work like this. This is a problem with humanity.

              What part of me saying this is a problem with the world, not just US, told you I was defending the practice? Seriously, is your reading comprehension poor, or do you struggle reading English? If it’s the latter then it is just a misunderstanding, if it if the former, well, there are many online resources to help with this.

    • VirtualOdour@sh.itjust.works
      link
      fedilink
      arrow-up
      4
      arrow-down
      4
      ·
      13 days ago

      If you heard as much about Korea, Singapore, Australia, Slovakia, or anywhere else then you’d say the same about them too. Not diminishing the problems in the US but the rest of the world is nuts too.

      • Aux@lemmy.world
        link
        fedilink
        arrow-up
        14
        ·
        13 days ago

        Well, as someone who doesn’t live in the US, I don’t see such high concentrations of utter nonsense from anywhere else.

          • IndustryStandard@lemmy.world
            link
            fedilink
            arrow-up
            3
            ·
            edit-2
            12 days ago

            It is amazing how every country can see the decline of America. And then politicians pop up in other countries imitating what American politicians have done for years.

            They advocate for privatizing healthcare, deregulating businesses, and other American policies which we already know the result of. Using the exact same arguments as the American politicians. People still fall for it and vote in those populists. Of course no left wing politician ever mentions that the populist talking points are the exact same as we have heard from America.

        • VirtualOdour@sh.itjust.works
          link
          fedilink
          arrow-up
          1
          ·
          11 days ago

          I don’t live in the USA either but I’m here on lemmy where most news is American and all the social media is the same. Korea as one of.my examples has had a strimg of absolutely horrendous rape and abuse scandals which would rival epstine but they’re pretty much unknown in western media and discourse. Australian politics likewise is a total dumpster fire that barely registers beside American and European news, some people vaguely know about the guy that got firebombed for reporting on corruption because he was a YouTuber but there’s endless insanity going on which barely gets a mention in ozzy news let alone international news, and even if it did no one would read it or talk about it like we do with American news.

          • Aux@lemmy.world
            link
            fedilink
            arrow-up
            1
            arrow-down
            1
            ·
            11 days ago

            That’s different though. Dumb shit happens everywhere, but the US is one of the few places where that dumb shit is legal and systemic.

  • cmoney@lemmy.world
    link
    fedilink
    arrow-up
    56
    ·
    14 days ago

    Another not so fun fact is that once the child is married their new spouse is now their guardian. So the child has to have their guardian sign off on legal issues like divorce, or wait till they are of legal age.

    • girlfreddy@lemmy.caOP
      link
      fedilink
      arrow-up
      65
      ·
      14 days ago

      50 years ago I was living with a guy who decided to beat me one night. After he fell asleep I walked over to the emergency clinic to get checked out. But because I wasn’t 18, and neither of my parents lived in the same province as I did, the hospital made me go back home to get my 18 yr old boyfriend’s signature … so the guy who just kicked the shit out of me had to give the hospital permission to help me.

  • homura1650@lemm.ee
    link
    fedilink
    arrow-up
    44
    arrow-down
    1
    ·
    13 days ago

    Its not a human rights violation in the US because the US is the only member of the UN that never ratified the UN convention on the rights of the child.

  • BigMacHole@lemm.ee
    link
    fedilink
    arrow-up
    40
    arrow-down
    1
    ·
    14 days ago

    There’s NO WAY the people FIGHTING to keep Child Marriage LEGAL are Republicans trying to Save The Children! NO WAY! It’s probably DRAG QUEENS doing it!

  • ALQ@lemmy.world
    link
    fedilink
    arrow-up
    39
    arrow-down
    1
    ·
    13 days ago

    The US government calls child marriage a human rights abuse […] has committed up to $5.3m to prevent it “in regions, countries, and communities where interventions are most needed and most likely to achieve results”

    .

    Close to 300,000 minors were married between 2000 and 2018 in the US […]; a small number of them were as young as 10.

    The cognitive dissonance in the US is almost physically painful.

  • cygnus@lemmy.ca
    link
    fedilink
    arrow-up
    39
    arrow-down
    1
    ·
    14 days ago

    Close to 300,000 minors were married between 2000 and 2018 in the US, according to a study conducted by Unchained at Last

    Well that’s not so bad, I best most of them married someone who is also a minor…

    78% of minors who wed in that timespan were girls with adult husbands

    Oh, shit.

    • Mirshe@lemmy.world
      link
      fedilink
      arrow-up
      2
      ·
      12 days ago

      A LOT of insular religious communities and congregations use it to “make right” cases of sexual assault and rape - since the Bible specifically says if someone rapes your daughter, the rapist has to marry them.

    • catloaf@lemm.ee
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      19
      arrow-down
      1
      ·
      13 days ago

      The reps from the states where it isn’t illegal would vote against it. No points for guessing their political affiliation.

      • Treczoks@lemmy.world
        link
        fedilink
        arrow-up
        10
        ·
        13 days ago

        Indeed they would. And then you can call them child molesters without shame, they have proven it.

      • not_that_guy05@lemmy.world
        link
        fedilink
        arrow-up
        6
        ·
        13 days ago

        Woah there buddy. California is not one to swing that way. I bet majority of Californians don’t even know about not having an age limit just like I learned today by reading the article.