The Student News Source of Sparkman High School

Child Marriage Is Still A Problem In America

May 15, 2018

When we are born, we are either given a bounty of opportunity with the responsible parents we have. Or condemned to little choice or hope for our future with parents who could use some improvement. And then there is the in between.

The fact is those of us given opportunities, good health and safety forget the struggling and doomed children around us. We are sheltered from them or ignore their pain.

In America, most people would not believe that child marriage still exists. They are completely unaware of the religious fanatics who marry their 12-year-old daughters to a 30-year-old rapist. Because we are privileged with sane parents and role models, we have no clue it is a problem.

Well, it is a problem. In fact, according to NPR, twenty-five states have no minimum age for a person to marry. Eight have the minimum lower than 16. Minors below an age set by the state have to get a judge’s approval. However, this measure hardly protects them. Only two states have a law that ensures a minor cannot get approval based entirely around parental consent. This allows parents to pressure or coerce their children into a marriage. There are so many loopholes in the law that allow these problems to continuously occur. According to NPR, even states that set the age to 16 or above, allow judges to approve marriages below that age.

This paves the way for perfectly legal child molestation and rape. Why a parent would allow this to happen to their child is a wonder. And why the parents are not thrown in jail for being an accomplice to rape is just as mind-blowing.

Of course, people are trying to reform child marriage laws. These efforts seem to be folly in some states such as Florida. Recently, in Florida, state legislators attempted to change their law, making it only legal for 18-year-olds to get married. Many legislators’ justification for voting against it was that pregnant teens would not be able to marry. This is a common yet weak argument. Teen pregnancy can be handled without marriage. This resolution is typical and usually comes from religious ideals. And yes while religion is important, child safety is more important. There should be no loophole that allows the rape of a child. And while there could be the argument that marrying daughters off is a part of a religion, it can be easily defeated. In America, we would not allow human sacrifice or murder for the sake of a religion. Similarly, we would not allow rape for the sake of a religion. The safety of others prevails over any belief system.

This should not be a problem in America. Children should not have their future or childhood taken away.

 

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