Yet while several states have moved in recent months to strengthen their laws and raise their marriage age, legal loopholes in all 50 states still allow marriage before 18 – and many state legislators remain unconvinced that they need to end child marriage. Some legislators continue to insist that pregnant girls should marry, despite highly publicized cases of such girls who were forced to marry their own rapists and despite research that shows pregnant teenage girls have better long-term outcomes if they don’t marry.
Marriage before age 18 has such devastating, long-lasting consequences – undermining girls’ health, education and economic opportunities and increasing their risk of experiencing violence – that the U.S. state department considers marriage before 18 a “human rights abuse.” Furthermore, children can easily be forced into marriage or forced to stay in a marriage before they become legal adults, because they face overwhelming legal and practical barriers if they try to leave home, access a shelter, retain an attorney or bring a legal action. Even in a polarized age, we can all agree on ending child marriage. So what’s the holdup?"
Read article by Fraidy Reiss from The New York Times.