“They are for child marriages”. Who has not heard that myth about Islam and Muslims? But what about the USA? There are states in the USA that allow marriages of children aged 12,13 or 14, and has done so since the 1700s and 1800s. And guess what? It is mainly a “Christian” problem.
Most states in the USA prohibit child marriages, but not all, and there are “exceptions” in most states that allow minors to marry if a court okays it even if the minimum age is higher.
In Virginia 12 year-old’s were allowed to marry until last year when the minimum age was raised.
Between 2004 and 2013, 4,500 children under the age of 18 were married in the state, with more than 200 of them younger than 15. State authorities decided they had enough of this grossness and abolished laws that allowed parental and judicial consent for girls 12 to 13 to get married if they were pregnant.
In New Hamsphire the minimum age is 13:
It’s not often middle-schoolers get married in New Hampshire. But it’s still perfectly legal, after the Republican-led House killed a bill Thursday to raise the marriage age to 18. The rejection leaves intact a state law that lets girls get married as young as age 13 with parental consent and sign-off from a judge. Boys a year older can marry with the same approvals.
In North Carolina the minimum age is 14:
“If an unmarried female who is more than 14 years of age, but less than 16 years of age, is pregnant or has given birth to a child and the unmarried female and the putative father of the child, either born or unborn, agree to marry, or if an unmarried male who is more than 14 years of age, but less than 16 years of age, is the putative father of a child, either born or unborn, and the unmarried male and the mother of the child agree to marry, the register of deeds is authorized to issue to the parties a license to marry; and it shall be lawful for them to marry in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter,”
In New Jersey the minimum age is 18. But children can marry younger, with parental consent. Judges can even allow 13 year old’s to marry.
The minimum marriage age in New Jersey is 18. However, children ages 16 or 17 may wed with “parental consent” (with no process in place to ensure it’s not actually “parental coercion”), and children 15 or younger may wed with judicial approval (with no minimum age below which a judge may no longer approve a marriage, and with no instructions for judges not to approve marriages for couple at ages or with age differences that are considered statutory rape).
The last case, New Jersey, shows one important thing. There are exceptions to the laws in almost all states, meaning that if the law formally states that the minimum age is 18, the real minimum age might be below that age.
This is how it looks like if one disregards the exceptions.
Eleven other states — Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin—and the District of Columbia require parties to be at least age 16. Five states require parties to be at least age 15: Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland and Utah. Three states require parties to be at least age 14: Alaska, New York and North Carolina. One state requires males to be at least age 14 and females to be at least age 13: New Hampshire. Case law in Massachusetts, but not statute, directs that males must be at least age 14 and females must be at least age 12.
The number of “child marriages” are not high. As PEW research showed the numbers are below 1%. Child marriages in the USA are mainly a problem in some Christian communities, as has been described in several articles in New York Times, Washington Post.
170,000 children were wed between 2000 and 2010 in the USA, in 38 of the 50 states where data was available.
Some people spread myths about the “Muslim threat” and claim that child marriages is an “imported” problem. The “Muslims” are as usual the ones to blame. IT IS NOT AN IMPORTED PROBLEM. The laws of the states are in some cases hundred years old or more and most cases has to do with non Muslims.
Read more: Is Child Marriages a Muslim problem?
Edit – 5/20