Anyone under the age of 18 who wants to tie the knot has to do it elsewhere. Connecticut just banned child marriages. Meaning, kids 16 and under can no longer say “I do.”
Stamford Advocate reports that Fairfield-based organization Save the Children estimates about 20,000 girls wed before the age of 18. According to Frontline, Connecticut saw 1,200 girls married off too young.
So, several lawmakers wanted to put a stop to it once and for all. Litchfield lawyer, Audrey Blondin, and her husband, Dr. Matthew Blondin first led the charge. The two discovered that Connecticut didn’t have a minimum age for marriage.
Meaning, children of any age could legally marry. Blondin said that discovery didn’t sit well with either of them:
“That really struck us. This was something local and most people had no idea. They assumed you had to be at least 16. You can’t vote until you’re 18 or buy alcohol until you’re 21, but you can get married when you’re 5.”
Yeah, that’s all sorts of extremely gross considering child marriages still remain a major issue worldwide. Hard to think that happened right in our back yard.
So, the two contacted Torrington state representative Michelle Cook and asked if she could do anything about it. After,the three drafted and co-sponsored a bill aiming to ban all marriages under the age of 18. Several other legislators, such as Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, also pushed for the bill’s passage.
And, in June, they bill made it onto the floor. However, representatives reduced the minimum age to 16. However, those under the age of 18 would still need parental or a judge’s consent to tie the knot. But, several organization said that language change does more harm than good.
Organizations like Girls Not Brides, Unchained at Last and Save the Children said the law doesn’t protect girls being forced into marriage. A practice that, unfortunately, still happens here in the States.
Save the Children reports that about 100 million girls remain largely at risk of becoming brides. On top of that, 7.5 million girls marry illegally every year.
The report also added that girls who marry under the age of 18 are least likely to graduate from high school.
But, what do you think? Are teenagers mature enough to decide if they’re ready for marriage or are you glad the state stepped in?