The Republican Party has never been any friend to women and girls. They regularly attack access to women’s reproductive healthcare, sweep sexual harassment and sexual assault under the rug, and routinely vote against any and all legislation that would advance the rights of women. However, what the GOP-led Missouri state legislature just did really takes the cake.
There was a bill being considered that would prohibit marriages to anyone age fourteen or below in the state. Should be a no-brainer, right? Nobody in their right mind thinks fourteen-year-olds should be getting married. But some in the Missouri legislature clearly think otherwise. Fifty lawmakers actually voted against the bill, though it ultimately passed, 95-50. However, that isn’t the point.
The fact that there are people in positions of power – fifty of them, to be exact – who think that child marriage should be a thing should alarm everyone. Further, this is something that should have been done long ago. As of right now, a 15-year-old and a 30-year-old could get married in Missouri (though, if they have sex without being married, it is statutory rape).
If people think this sort of thing doesn’t happen, think again – Just two years ago, a father and a “family friend” who raped and impregnated said father’s 14-year-old daughter tried to get the girl to marry her rapist. Luckily, the law got involved, likely due to the sexual assault aspect of the case. That is rare, though. If the “marriages” are legal, there’s nothing that can be done.
As if all of that isn’t enough, 49 of the 50 lawmakers who voted in favor of keeping child marriage voted in of banning it just one year ago:
The United States likes to think of itself as a civilized society that respects and protects human rights. We look at some nations that are under the rule of things like draconian anti-woman religious laws and insist that we are better than that. We aren’t, because, right here in the good old U.S. of A., little girls are being married off, often to much older men. Sick, but true.
Here is a video on child marriage in America courtesy of Global Citizen:
Featured image via screen capture from Global Citizen