Latest modern slavery fight updates - FreedomUnited.org

Virginia and child marriage – is an end in sight?

  • Published on
    February 9, 2024
  • Category:
    Forced Marriage
Hero Banner

Virginian lawmakers are considering a bill that would remove all exceptions to getting married before the age of 18, as reported by NBC4 Washington. This could make Virginia the 11th state in the U.S. to completely ban child marriages.

Married and two kids at 17

Brigitte Combs was pregnant when she was married off at age 15, to a much older man she was set up for religious reasons by her mother. The marriage was legal – her parents signed the necessary documents. Being a mother of two at 17, she soon realized that this was not the life she wanted.

“I can’t go to my parents. I’m not old enough to file for divorce. I don’t even have a driver’s license.” – Brigitte Combs, survivor of and advocate against child marriage

She left her partner and was homeless at 18 and got divorced at 20. Today, she advocates for the complete ban on child marriage in Virginia.

Progress halted in Virginia

Virginia once led the nation by restricting marriage to legal adults in 2016. However, through a complex legal procedure, 16- and 17-year-olds were still able to obtain approval to marry. According to VPM, child marriage is possible upon a judge deciding that it is “in the best interests of the minor to be emancipated.” The judge must then determine that the minor is making this decision freely, “is mature enough to get married” and their safety is guaranteed.

“Forced or not, it sets people up for devastating short- and long-term consequences, and in fact, delaying marriage to 18 or beyond will set all people up to be better off.” – Casey Swegman, Tahirih Justice Center Director of Public Policy

The proposed bill could close any remaining loopholes that allow children below 18 to get married under any circumstances. At Freedom United, we stand against child marriage – find out more here. And join us in demanding an end to forced child marriage all around the world.

Subscribe

Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This week

U.N. rights chief urges end to E.U.'s support for Libyan Coast Guard

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, has called for an urgent review of the European Union's agreement with Libyan authorities to intercept and return migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Speaking at the Human Rights Council, Türk highlighted the alarming scale of “trafficking, torture, forced labor, extortion, and starvation” endured by returned migrants and asylum seekers. “It is unconscionable that people in

| Tuesday July 9, 2024

Read more