Molly Boigon, “Hasidic Brooklyn’s Child Matchmaker is Under Investigation,” The Forward (March 25, 2021). A Brooklyn rabbi is under investigation for allegedly arranging marriages between children, including one between a 15-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl. The weddings are illegal under New York state law, which in 2017 was reformed to prohibit any marriage under age 18 with an exception for 17-year-olds granted the legal rights of an adult. Read more.
Samana Young and Ember Penney, “Teenagers in North Carolina Call for an End to Child Marriage,” Ms. Magazine (March 24, 2021). Two high school seniors from North Carolina write about why they support legislation to end child marriage in the state. An estimated 10,000 minors married in North Carolina between 2000 and 2019, the majority of whom were girls marrying adult men. Read more.
“Child Marriage Bill Would Set Minimum Marriage Age at 18,” Wabi News Desk (March 18, 2021). A new bill, LD 622, would end child marriage in Maine by prohibiting marriage under age 18. Several advocate and survivors of child marriage testified in support of the bill at a public hearing, describing how child marriage has impacted their lives and the lives of other children in the United States. Read more.
Heather Walker “Renewed Effort in Legislature to End Child Marriages in Michigan,” Wood TV (February 25, 20201). A new set of bills to end child marriage has been introduced in the Michigan legislature. Similar bills have been introduced twice since local reporting shed light on the issue in 2018, but legislators sense new momentum behind their efforts and hope this will be the year they find success. Read more.
Suzanne Perez, “No More Child Brides: Make 18 the Minimum Age for Marriage in Kansas,” The Wichita Eagle (February 24, 2021). The Wichita Eagle’s opinion editor writes in support of a bill that would end child marriage in Kansas by setting the state’s minimum marriage age at 18, without exceptions. Current law allows children as young as 15 to marry with a judge’s permission. Read more.
Lilly Price, “Bill Limiting Child Marriage Introduced for Sixth Time; Advocates Voice Support at Annapolis Moms Meeting,” The Baltimore Sun (February 12, 2021). For the sixth year in a row, state Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary introduced a bill to raise Maryland’s minimum marriage age. Current state law allows 15-year-olds to marry in the case of pregnancy or birth of a child if they have parental consent, and16- and 17-year-olds only need parental consent. The proposed bill would help to shield minors from pressure to marry much older men, and expose coercive or abusive relationships. Read More.
Kevin G. Hall and Ben Wieder, “New Complaint Claims Jeffrey Epstein Forced Some of His Victims to Marry Each Other,” The Miami Herald (February 11, 2021). The attorney general of the Virgin Islands has moved to amend her civil enforcement action against the estate of Jeffrey Epstein, adding new allegations of forced marriage for the purpose of immigration fraud. The complaint alleges that the Epstein Enterprise forced at least three separate marriages, “in each case requiring American female victims to marry foreign victims to avoid their deportation.” Read more.
Danielle Battaglia, “North Carolina Lawmakers Want to Stop 14-year-olds from Marrying,” Charlotte Observer (February 1, 2021). A group of lawmakers are looking to change the fact that North Carolina is tied for the lowest minimum marriage age spelled out in law, allowing children as young as 14 to be married. If passed, House Bill 41 and Senate Bill 35 would end child marriage in the state by preventing any marriage under age 18. The bills’ sponsors have partnered with Tahirih Justice Center and a coalition of local advocacy organizations to move the bills through the legislature. Read more.
Matthew Lavietes, “Thousands of Child Marriages in Canada Spark Concern over Global Leadership,” Reuters (January 12, 2021). A new study from McGill University found more than 3,600 marriage certificates were issued to girls younger than 18 in Canada between 2000 and 2018, with thousands more girls living in informal common-law partnerships. The findings contrast Canada’s posturing as a leader in global, United Nations-backed efforts to end child marriage worldwide with the country’s own law that allows for children as young as 16 to marry with parental consent or a court order. Read more.
Anushka Asthana, “From Yemen to the U.K.: Noor’s Story,” The Guardian (January 10, 2021). Noor was forced into marriage at age 14, but was later able to divorce her husband and became a human rights campaigner in Yemen. When her advocacy led to threats on her life at age 29, Noor fled to the United Kingdom. On The Guardian’s Today in Focus podcast Noor talks about her own journey, and her ongoing efforts to protect the children she was forced to leave behind. Listen here.
Anastasia Moloney, “Dominican Republic Bans Child Marriage Amid Fears of Global Rise,” Reuters (January 7, 2021). On January 6, President Luis Abinader signed a bill to prohibit child marriage in the Dominican Republic, setting a minimum marriage age of 18, without exceptions. Local advocates campaigned hard for the bill, but have no illusions about the fact that passing a law will not be enough to end child marriage in the country. Change will also require a shift in what society sees as normal, so that all women and girls are seen as having other important roles beyond those of mother and wife. Read more.
Susie Beever, “How Karma Nirvana Founder Jasvinder Sanghera Fled a Forced Marriage Aged 16 to Become One of Yorkshire’s Most Inspirational Women,” The Yorkshire Post (January 2, 2021). Jasvinder Sanghera left home to avoid a forced marriage when she was just 16 years old, and has since become a leading campaigner against forced marriage in the United Kingdom. Ms. Sanghera founded Karma Nirvana – an organization dedicated to serving individuals facing forced marriage – in honor of her sister, who died by suicide after being forced to marry a stranger. Read more.