In New Hampshire, it’s perfectly legal for a man to marry a 13-year-old girl. And thanks to Republicans voting down a bill to raise the marriage age, it’ll stay that way.
On Thursday, The Concord Monitor reported the state’s GOP-led House rejected a bill that would have raised the marriage age to 18. The current legal marriage age allows 13-year-old girls and 14-year-old boys to marry as long as they have consent from their parents and a judge signs off on it.
What could possibly be the thought processes going on in these lawmakers’ heads? They claim they want to help young soldiers.
They argued the age increase would block young soldiers from getting married and providing military benefits to their partners or children. Others said the change could lead to more single-parent households.
Rep. David Bates (R-Rockingham 7) adds:
“If we pass this, we will ensure forever that every child born to a minor will be born out-of-wedlock.”
Wait…Does the Republican Party have some secret plan that involves providing teenage boys with child brides before sending them off to their next war? And coercing girls and women into marriage by denying welfare to children of unwed mothers? It sure sounds like it. These GOP lawmakers didn’t just vote down this bill to raise the marriage age. They voted 179-168 to “indefinitely postpone” it. This means backers can’t bring it to the floor again for at least two years.
The Concord Monitor adds:
Democratic Rep. Jacalyn Cilley filed the bill, which had backing from anti-sexual abuse groups. Supporters said the age increase was needed to protect children from predators and coerced marriages.
In a bizarre twist, these youngsters may get married, but some of them still can’t legally have sex.
The age of sexual consent in New Hampshire is 16 years old and at odds with the state’s marriage law, some pointed out.
But strangely, when it comes to possible forced marriages and abuse, all those Republicans stomping around in our uteri to protect our nation’s fetuses are nowhere to be found.
Jessica Eskeland from the N.H. Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence declared:
“This is ridiculous. If parents say yes and a judge signs on, you can have a 13-year-old who is married and can have sex with a 40-year-old husband.”
And that has been known to happen. In 1995-2012, 323 girls and 46 boys under the age of 18 got hitched. The oldest groom married a 17-year-old bride in 2006, and a 29-year-old bride said her vows to a 16-year-old boy in 2008.
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