close
close

Latest Post

5 questions remain as Falcons’ offseason work comes to a close Eating small fish whole reduces the risk of cancer in women

(The Center Square) – Washington is now the 11th U.S. state to ban child marriage under a new law that went into effect June 6 and prohibits anyone under 18 from marrying.

Bill 1455passed by the House this session and signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee in March, took effect on June 6.

Before the new law, Washington was one of five states that had no age limit for marriage. In the other states, children of any age can legally marry with a judge’s permission, and 17-year-olds only need parental permission.

Survivors of forced childhood marriages gave passionate testimony during debate on the bill in Olympia during this year’s legislative session.

Kate Yang of Kirkland told lawmakers that her own family had kidnapped her for $6,000.

“I became a 12-year-old bride and was raped on my wedding night,” she said. “Child marriages happen in America.”

Survivor Sara Tasneem told lawmakers she was only 15 years old when she moved in with her father one summer, who then forced her to marry a 28-year-old man.

“My father introduced me to a man one morning and I was told that I would marry him that same evening,” Tasneem explained. “My mother knew nothing about it and after a spiritual wedding ceremony, my father handed me over to my abuser and left me in his care.”

She added: “I was taken out of the country, raped and impregnated.”

Tasneem told MPs that her abuser brought her back to the country six months later.

“At the time, we were legally married and I was six months pregnant,” Tasneem said. “My tormentors used this marriage certificate to avoid being charged for the crimes they committed against me.”

“It took me seven long years to finally escape my tormentor and another three years to finalize my divorce.”

Fraidy Reiss of Unchained at Last, a group that advocates for ending all child marriage, testified in support of the bill.

“In many cases, these are a child molester’s get-out-of-jail-free card,” she said.

“70 to 80 percent of these child marriages end in divorce and the young people become homeless,” noted Reiss. “This also provides an incentive for parents to marry off a child so that they no longer have to pay child support. As if by magic, children who are married off are emancipated.”

A Unchained at Last Study found that more than 5,000 minors were married in Washington from 2000 to 2021. The same study showed that the vast majority of recent child marriages – 83% – in Washington are between adult men and underage girls.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *