Child Marriage is a human rights abuse. Support a Statewide Campaign to End Child Marriage in California.
A strong interfaith coalition is instrumental in the fight to end Child Marriage.
Child Marriage is governed by state law and historically has been legal in the United States. There are cases of faith-based organizations encouraging, condoning and promoting Child Marriage, but those extreme sects of religious orders are exceptional.
Interfaith support to end Child Marriage has been successful in other states.
- “For any variety of reasons it is simply not possible for anyone lacking in maturity to enter into marriage as the Catholic Church understands marriage.” Very Rev. Gilbert J. Seitz J.C.L., Judicial Vicar, Archdiocese of Baltimore
- “The laws and especially the teaching of the Church provide for and encourage pastors of souls to dissuade persons from marriage at a young age as a means of safeguarding their human dignity and welfare.” Eric A. Failing, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Catholic Conference
Across the U.S., some 248,000 children were married between 2000 and 2010. Almost all were girls wed to adult men.
Devastating Consequences of Child Marriage
The U.S. State Department has called marriage before 18 a “human rights abuse.”
- Child marriage destroys girls’ health, education and economic opportunities, and increases their risk of experiencing violence.
- Children can easily be forced into marriage or forced to stay in a marriage before they turn 18 and become legal adults. In many U.S. states, even at age 17, minors cannot independently leave home, enter a domestic violence shelter, retain an attorney (because contracts with children typically are voidable) or bring a legal action such as a divorce.
Summary of Current Child Marriage Laws Nationwide
The United States and 192 other countries have signed on to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (“SDGs”). Child marriage is included under Goal 5 “Gender Equality.” In 2018 bills to end Child Marriage were successful in Delaware and New Jersey. As a result, there is considerable momentum around this issue. Legislation is currently pending in Pennsylvania and Nevada. Georgia passed a law raising the minimum age to marry from 16 to 17 in May 2019. The new bill enacted in the Conservative State of Georgia is now stronger than the protections we give children in the state of California.
Global Hope 365 is advocating for a law to end Child Marriage in California, without exception.
Summary of Current Child Marriage Law in California.
Most Californians are shocked to find out Child Marriage is legal in their state and 47 other states. Current Law in California established by SB273 approved by the Governor in September 2018 and effective January 2019 includes no minimum age to marry. The minimum age to marry is also referred to as an “age floor.” Minors can marry permission from their parents and permission from the court. The 2018 bill presented in Sacramento failed to connect Child Marriage to Californians and to connect to a global campaign to prevent human rights abuse. Global Hope 365 believes this legislative misstep occurred from a lack of education and community awareness.