Child marriage in the US.

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LogicFTW's picture
Child marriage in the US.

Childhood marriage has been discussed before one these forums, but mostly in relation to other countries than the US.

It has been estimated at least 248 thousand children were legally married in the US between 2000 and 2010. (So that figure does not include religious only marriages, and US children married legally abroad and then returned to the US with their spouse.)

86% of those is a minor marrying an adult. Most states have laws around age of consent to be married, but have workarounds, such as judge approved and/or parent approved marriages.

It gets worse, in many states, a child cannot file for a divorce until 18. Also if they were to flee, the minor would be considered a runaway, and returned to the "family," by police. If someone were to aid and shelter this runaway, fleeing possible domestic violence, in possibly a coerced marriage they cannot yet legally get a divorce, the people providing aid and shelter can face legal ramifications up to and including kidnapping charges.

Worse still, another loophole, (in some states,) for child marriage in the US: if the girl is pregnant. There indeed has been many cases to this day where a child get raped by an adult, gets pregnant, and in turn the adult marries the child legally, cleared to do so because he is the father of the baby.

There are numerous efforts in the US to pass new laws to ban this archaic, barbaric practice, but often these bills meet resistance or out right killed by powerful religious groups that argue it is their religious right to adults to marry minors. And is some states, being married to a minor is a loophole in age of sex consent laws.

Just another glaring example of why religions need to go, and separation of church and state is so crucial.

Fortunately progress is being made on this front, but how any organized religion can even begin to rationalize defending these child marriage loopholes is beyond insane to any rational thinking empathetic person.

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Algebe's picture
I find that totally

I find that totally disgusting. In the UK, New Zealand, Australia, etc., girls are frequently stopped at airports on their way to be married to old men in Muslim and Hindu countries. But I'm sure there are a lot of religious marriages that are never discovered. This is just another way that religions steal and befoul childhood.

I'm gobsmacked that US states allow child marriage. But then I remember that back in the 1960s, the rock star Jerry Lee Lewis arrived for a tour New Zealand with his 13-year-old wife and a Tennessee marriage certificate. In New Zealand sex with anyone under the age of 16 is a serious crime. Marriage at that age is unthinkable. The authorities were going to deport Lewis, but in the end they reached a compromise that required his "wife" to be chaperoned and stay in a different hotel room.

David Killens's picture
I fully agree, this is just

I fully agree, this is just dirty old men manipulating the laws so they can get their hands on children. At least the Feds got Warren Jeffs in prison. Life plus twenty years.

Nyarlathotep's picture
David Killens - ...this is

David Killens - ...this is just dirty old men manipulating the laws so they can get their hands on children.

You have---perhaps inadvertently---just summarized the most successful religions.

Diotrephes's picture


As people constantly repeat on an hourly basis the US was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs. One of the major beliefs expressed in the Jewish Babylonian Talmud is that it's perfectly acceptable for adults to have sex with toddlers and to marry them. So the fact that child marriages still exist in Christian countries shows that people love the Jewish fairy tales even if they don't know what they are.

LogicFTW's picture
Yep. Amazing the amount of

Yep. Amazing the amount of ignorance people display to their own religion they proclaim to study and worship. They never examine one of the biggest if not biggest component of their worldview/lives.

MCD's picture
It is unbelievable. This is

It is unbelievable. This is a byproduct of religion

DragonBonz's picture
At the risk of being hugely

At the risk of being hugely unpopular - again...

At what age is a human, a biological creature, not governed by some invisible being or cult trying to control natural desires or tendencies, allowed to express those natural inclinations?

Is there ONE age for every human?

Why is it that people view sex - a fully and wholly natural act between biological beings (or sometimes practiced alone!) - as something to be regulated by laws of man or god?

Should those laws and regulations be universal?

I started having nocturnal emissions when I was very, very young... had intercourse (with an older girl by four years - she taught me about sex) when I was only twelve and frankly - other than the distractions to my grades in school and other activities (I would have done a lot better in school and sports if I hadn't been so sexually active and engaged, I'm sure)... I was not harmed and, frankly, feel that I benefited from the experiences of my open youth.

The damage that may have happened wasn't from the physical sex or the emotional distractions or any other tangible things. Any damage to me from engaging in young sex was hugely guilt related (religion) and sociological (not conforming to society expectations or acting within their rules and guidelines).

Frankly, I don't find the act of sex harmful..

However, before you hate me for saying that, yes... I do think there are limits - and yes, I do feel there are certainly valid arguments for what should be acceptable here. I'm just trying to step back and figure out why sex, a completely natural activity among all mammals and many other living beings, an innate tendency and drive, is such a taboo thing.

I have children - and I've often contemplated this issue by putting it squarely upon what I would think if they engaged in sex - or not - or gay - or in groups - or... with older individuals or groups... or whatever and it's not as easy an issue as everyone makes it seem.

Is masturbation bad?

Is teaching younger people about their bodies and how to not be ashamed of themselves naked or their natural desires and innate tendencies irresponsible?

If a ten year old has questions or a sixteen year old wants condoms - is it wrong to answer or support them?

It's funny to me that the most heinous crime in the world is sex.... even greater than murder or religion.

I'm not trying to incite anyone, truly and honestly - and I'm not saying I have any position on this yet - but I am trying to understand why a natural part of our human makeup is such a taboo subject - especially among those who may have a more humanist or hedonistic background and who understand that this life is all there is so we should (responsibly) enjoy it as best we can - to the harm of nobody else, for sure...

Just playing the other side because I want to see what others think about this - when they actually think, not just give emotional reactions.

Why is sex with or by minors such a terrible thing? When could it be responsible or acceptable for biological beings to express themselves physically, naturally? What should the rules be and should those rules apply to everyone or should they be principles that apply to each person individually?

Nothing is ever easy... even issues that seem to be simple.

Sorry to bring these questions - and hope I'm not crucified (lol, perfect word for this site, huh? ) for even being open about what is running around in my head... but if any group has an honest perspective on this, I'm thinking a group that prides itself on thinking, reason, rationality like this is probably as good a place to start as any.

Also, I realize the original post was about marriage, not sex, but in truth - I don't care and don't think anyone else would care if a sixty year old man was married to a six year old girl if they didn't consumate the marriage or have intimate relations - ever. If it were just a caregiver or friendship or whatever, marriage of family fortunes, blah, blah, situation - the issue probably wouldn't be relevant for discussion. Especially if the sixty year old man let his bride have sexual relations after she was old enough with people her own age outside of the marriage.

Marriage - as an institution is another completely different topic worth talking about - but I don't want to be a troll and go there. Still, I believe sex is the real issue - is this correct? Am I right in believing this is really what the discussion is about? If not - please ignore all comments and questions in my post - didn't mean to get off-track.

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