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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