“Missouri GOP Lawmaker Was Married at 15. She Now Wants to Ban all Child Marriages,” The Kansas City Star (March 18, 2024). Senator Holly Thompson Rehder was married to her 21-year-old boyfriend when she was just 15. Now a state senator, she is seeking to end child marriage in Missouri. While the legislation was heard in early January, the bill has not yet been debated in front of the full chamber. Read more.

“State Legislature Passes Bill to Ban Child Marriages in Washington,” KIRO 7 (February 25, 2024). Washington state legislature passed HB 1455, which seeks to close the loopholes that currently allow the marriage of minors under certain circumstances, with 48 out of 49 senators voting yea. If signed by Governor Inslee, the bill will make Washington the 11th state to end child marriage. Read more.

Virginia Might End ‘Loophole’ in Child Marriage Law,” VPM (February 5, 2024). Judy Wiegand got married in Clintwood, VA when she was just 13 years old. Now she and other survivors of child marriage, backed by nonprofits including the Tahirih Justice Center, are pushing Virginia to end child marriage. Legislation sponsored by Del. Karen Keys-Gamarra would do just that by setting a minimum marriage age of 18, no exceptions. Read more.

“Missouri Bills Propose Minimum Marriage Age of 18,” Ozarks First (February 3, 2024). Senate Bills 767 and 1342 were assigned to be heard by the Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. Both bills, now combined, would make the minimum legal marriage age 18 with no exceptions. Currently, Missouri state law prohibits anyone under 16 years old from getting married and anyone under 18 years old from marrying a person who is at least 21 years old. Read more.

“British Girl, 13, is Dramatically Saved from a Forced Marriage to Her Cousin in Pakistan,” Daily Mail (January 31, 2024). Staff at the British embassy acted in to prevent a 13-year-old girl from being forced to marry. The girl and her parents had traveled to Pakistan for what she and her mother thought was just a holiday, but in reality was a marriage planned in secret by her father. Her mother contacted a neighbor in the U.K. who was able to get in touch with the British police, social workers, and the Government’s Forced Marriage Unit. Officials from the embassy persuaded the father’s family to return his wife and daughter’s passports so they could return to England. Read more

“Legislative Panel Shoots Down South Dakota Bill to Raise the Age for Marriage to 18,” AP News (January 30, 2024). South Dakota’s House of State Affairs Committee voted to reject a bill that would raise the age of marriage to 18 preserving current law that allows 16 and 17-year-olds to marry if they have consent of a parent or legal guardian. Opposed lawmakers, including one who married his wife when she was a minor, believe this existing safeguard to be sufficient. Read more.

“House Bill Could Ban Child Marriages in New Mexico,” KRQE News (January 29,2024). A New Mexico House committee signed off on House Bill 242 which would prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from obtaining a marriage license. Currently, anyone aged 16 or 17 can get a marriage license in the state with written consent from their parents. The bill would also increase the fees for a marriage license and would allow service men and women who are outside of the state to get married virtually. Read more.  

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“Forced Marriage and Surrogacy to be Added to EU Law for Human Trafficking Crimes,” Malta Today (January 24, 2024). Negotiators for the Members of European Parliament and the European Council have come to an agreement to add forced marriage as a type of exploitation covered by the EU’s anti-trafficking laws. The provisional agreement will be submitted to member state representatives for confirmation, and be formally adopted by both the Council and the European Parliament. If approved, member states would be required to make it a criminal offense to knowingly utilize services provided by a victim of trafficking – including forced marriage. Read more 


“At 19, I Was Forced to Marry a Stranger and Was Sexually Assaulted Every Month for 12 Years,” HuffPost (January 9, 2024). At 19 years old, Fraidy Reiss was forced to marry an older man by her parents that she had never met. From the beginning of her marriage, she had been violently abused and threatened. Her husband did not allow her to own her own bank account or credit card, and under Orthodox Jewish law, if her husband allowed her to work, any money earned was to be given to him. In 2011, Fraidy Reiss founded a nonprofit organization, Unchained At Last, to combat forced and child marriage in the United States. Read more

“VICTORY! Washington House Unanimously Readopts Bill to End Child Marriage,” Northwest Progressive Institute (January 8, 2024). The Washington State House of Representatives voted unanimously on opening day to pass legislation that would put an end to child marriage. The bill sets a minimum marriage age of eighteen, a sharp contrast to current law which has no firm age floor. The bill is on its way to the Senate, where Chair Manka Dhingra will schedule it for a hearing in the Law & Justice committee. Read more.