End Child Marriage in Kentucky

  • by: Audry M
  • recipient: Kentucky Senate
While other states have been making advances in ending child marriage in their jurisdictions, Kentucky hasn't changed their lax marriage statutes in two decades. Their loose marriage laws have made the state one of the worst in the country for child marriage.

In fact, in recent years over ten thousand children - some as young as 13 years of age - have gotten married in the Bluegrass State. The statistic is shocking especially when considering the societal and personal ills of the practice.

Around the world, there are more than 700 million women who were married before their 18th birthday. When children — usually girls — are forced into marriage at such a young age they lose their agency and control over their futures. Their chances at an education and a full childhood become far less likely. And they often are more likely to experience domestic violence.

Despite these facts — in Kentucky — there is no minimum age at which a child cannot wed, there is no examination into the circumstances of the union and children as young as 16 need just a parent's signature to get married.

But this could all change. Kentucky Senator Julie Raque Adams has introduced legislation that would "require minors to be at least 17 years old and prove employment and independence in order to get a marriage license. It would also require the spouse to be no more than four years older than the minor."

The bill will be voted on within the coming weeks so right now is the perfect time to show your support for Ms. Adams bill and tell the rest of the Kentucky Senate that Senate Bill 48 must become law. Sign the petition and help end child marriage in Kentucky.
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