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Washington takes a stance against child marriage

  • Published on
    January 11, 2024
  • Category:
    Forced Marriage, Law & Policy
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Lawmakers in the U.S. state of Washington have unanimously passed House Bill 1455, a proposal to ban child marriage on the first day of the first legislative session, as reported by The Spokesman-Review. The bill now awaits introduction into the state Senate. Washington could thus become the 11th state to ban child marriage.

Closing legal gaps and protecting Washington youth

Child marriage, still legally permitted in Washington, faces potential prohibition as state lawmakers advance a bill aimed at banning marriages for anyone under the age of 18. Presently, children of any age can marry, with 17-year-olds requiring parental consent and younger individuals needing approval from a judge. The existing law lacks clarity on what constitutes a “necessity” for marriage below the age of 17. Representative Monica Stonier, the prime sponsor of the bill, highlights the need for a comprehensive ban, emphasizing that vague legalities can lead to coercive or abusive relationships, depriving young individuals of necessary legal services and support.

“Young people who are married before they are legal adults do not have access to the full range of legal services, counseling, therapy, financial support they might need if they were in a coercive or abusive relationship.” – Rep. Monica Stonier

Important step forward

As the Washington State House of Representatives unanimously passes the bill to ban child marriages, legislators recognize the broader implications of such unions. About four out of every 1,000 minors between the ages of 15 and 17 are married in Washington, according to a 2016 report. Representative Jim Walsh asserts the bill’s importance, acknowledging that minors cannot consent to all life choices, and urging his colleagues to support the ban. This move aligns with a growing national trend, with ten states already banning child marriage.

“What this bill does is acknowledge that minor children cannot consent to all of life’s choices.” – Rep. Jim WalshTop of Form

Despite variations in prevalence across states, the issue persists nationwide, impacting the well-being and legal rights of minors. And it is not just the United States that still allows child marriage, the issue is worldwide. Join us in demanding an end to forced child marriage throughout the world!

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Edward Drain
Edward Drain
4 months ago

Thank you Rep. Monica Stonier! Will you please take the next step for women and girls and remove the possibility of child-custody for rapists? A woman should not be forced to negotiate with her rapist for 18 years!

Paulette Harvey
Paulette Harvey
4 months ago

Child marriage is an abhorrent abuse of children with girls being the majority of the victims, child marriages are a paedophilic charter to legal access to children who when married to such men have a dreadful life of abuse and sexual perversions without recourse to any laws of protection END ALL CHILD MARRIAGE IN ALL THE STATES and then the USA can claim to be civilised till then they are no better than other countries who practice this evil

Ester
Ester
4 months ago

Child marriage is crimen

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