Girl holding sign saying Child Not Bride

“Child Marriage Just Became Illegal in England but Still Happens in Canada,” CBC Kids News, (March 8, 2023). Canada supports the United Nations’ goal to end child marriage by 2030, yet the current law in Canada allows 17-year-olds to marry given parental consent. According to a report by Alissa Koski, an associate professor at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, between 2000 and 2018, about 3,700 children in Canada had been legally married. In 2015, Canada set the minimum marital age to 16. In most providences and territories, the minimum age is 16 or 17 and requires parental consent. Judicial approval is required in Quebec. Read more.

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz speaking at a podium.

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz (Opinion): “CT Must Act to End Child Marriage”, CT Post, (March 24, 2023). Connecticut Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz writes in favor of a bill that would end child marriage in the state, eliminating exceptions that currently allow children aged 16 and 17 to marry. She says that a 2017 reform setting a minimum marriage age of 16 did not go far enough, and since that law’s passage other states in the region have leapt ahead of Connecticut by ending child marriage entirely. “Today, we stand alone as the only state in the tri-state area that allows someone under 18 years of age to marry,” she writes. “It is time to finish what we started and join our neighboring states.” Read more.

Map of child marriage in the US

“As Advocates Push for Child Marriage Bans, Some States Resist,” The Washington Post, (March 17, 2023). As recently as 2015, every state in the U.S. allowed child marriage and 28 set no firm minimum marriage age. Over the last several years, however, American survivors of child marriage have traveled across the country asking lawmakers to end child marriage. In response a wave of reforms has ended child marriage in 7 states and increased safeguards in two dozen more, but many states still resist ending child marriage entirely. Read more.

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz and advocates

John Moritz, “Advocates Warn Connecticut Could Become a Haven for Child Marriage as Other States Raise Legal Age to 18,” CT Insider (March 14, 2023). Connecticut Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz supports proposed legislation that would set the minimum marital age to 18 without exceptions. Currently, 16 year-olds are allowed to marry “Ultimately minors who marry are lacking the same legal protections that married adults have,” Bysiewicz stated at a press conference. Connecticut’s neighboring states, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, have all passed legislation setting the minimum marital age to 18 without exceptions. Advocates worry that Connecticut could become a destination for people seeking underage marriages. Advocate and child marriage survivor Jenn Bradbury described being taken from her home in Louisiana to Florida so her parents could take advantage of the state’s lax marriage laws and force her to marry a man significantly older than her. “I want my story to be the last one you ever have to hear like this.” Read more.

Bride holding bouquet

“Welsh People Who Married Young Share Their Stories as Minimum Age is Raised From 16,” Wales Online, (February 28, 2023). Welsh people reflected on their own marriages at 16 or 17. The majority said it worked out for them, but they support England and Wales’s new law raising the minimum marriage age to 18. Most of the people that wrote in agreed that the law reflected the changing times and were hopeful that it would protect young girls. Read more.

Bride and groom holding hands

“The Age You Can Get Married in England and Wales Has Just Changed,” Cosmopolitan, (February 28, 2023). A new law has ended child marriage in England and Wales, setting the minimum marriage age at 18 in both countries after years of campaigning by survivors and advocates. The new law also makes it a crime to cause a child to marry, regardless of whether the marriage is forced; forced marriage is already a crime in the United Kingdom. The new law does not change the legal marriage age in Scotland or Northern Ireland, as the matter would have to be taken up by each of those countries’ respective governments. Read more.

Members of the Judiciary Committee during a meeting

“Prohibition on Underage Marriage Advances out of Judiciary Committee,” CT News Junkie, (March 27, 2023). A bill to end child marriage in Connecticut advanced from the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, with support from lawmakers of both parties. Despite this support, several legislators voiced concerns that the bill should make exceptions to allow children to marry in some cases and claiming that child marriage was not a large issue in the state. Read more.

Yearbook photo with faces blurred and gavel

“The Bill to End Child Marriage in Texas,” Axios Dallas, (March 1, 2023). Texas House Bill 924 would end child marriage in the state, removing an exception from a 2017 law that currently allows emancipated 16- and 17-year-olds to marry in the state. Prior to the 2017 reform Texas saw more children marry than any other state, the majority of whom were girls marrying adult men. Read more.

“England and Wales Raise Minimum Age for Marriage: What’s The Age in Other European Countries?” Euronews, (February 27, 2023). As England and Wales have raised the minimum age for marriage, where do the rest of the European countries stand? The website offers an interactive map of minimum marital ages in Europe. Read more.

Woman looking out a window. Long red curtains hang on either side.

“‘Love doesn’t exist’: Immigrants Defy Forced Marriage Abroad,” Associated Press, (February 27, 2023). Many Pakistanis living in Europe fear forced marriages. Italy, among other European countries, has made it a crime to coerce Italian citizens or residents into marriage, even if done so abroad. Read more.

Portland Press Herald, Maine logo

“Brewer Lawmaker Revives Effort to Ban Child Marriages in Maine,” Portland Press Herald, Maine, (February 17, 2023). Currently, Maine allows 16- and 17-year-olds to marry given their parents’ consent. The new bill would set the minimum marital age to 18 and eliminate any exceptions. State Representative Kevin O’Connell is introducing this bill after his similar bill failed last year. Opponents in 2022 favored setting the minimum age to 17, an age consistent with enlisting in the military. Advocate and child marriage survivor Dawn Tyree testified last year saying “”My husband had reported me as a runaway and law enforcement threatened to return me to my rapist.” A public hearing on the bill has not yet been scheduled. Read more.

Logo for WIVB News 4

“Father, Son Arrested in Alleged Kidnapping Conspiracy to Force an Arranged Marriage,” WIBV 4, (February 16, 2023). A woman was taken from her family’s home in Buffalo, New York by her father and brother after they discovered her engagement to a man they did not approve of. The took her to Yemen for an arranged marriage for which her father would be paid $500,000. The woman refused and was physically assaulted. The woman is still in Yemen. Her father and brother retuned to the United States and are facing pending kidnapping charges. Read more.

Photo of Governor Chris Sununu

“Written in Granite: NH and Child Marriage” The Sun (January 16, 2023).
New Hampshire State Rep. Cassandra Levesque will be leading HB 34 in the 2023 session setting the minimum marital age to 18. This push follows a bill signed into law in 2018 that set the minimum marital age to 16. Opponents argue that New Hampshire doesn’t have a child marriage problem as there were five child marriages each in 2019 and 2021 and none in 2020. Opponents also expressed concern that the higher marital age would result in more abortions. Read more.