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End Child Marriage In New York State

This petition had 166 supporters


Petition in Support of New York Assemblywoman Amy Paulin’s Bill To End Child Marriage

Begun by: UAlbany Students Against Human Trafficking

Written by: Angel Warner, UAlbany Student

 

Would you want your child, your niece or nephew, your friend, or anyone else in your life to be married at 14? Of course not, but that is legal in New York State.

The current law states that children 14 years of age can be married in New York State with parental and judicial approval. The judicial approval process has no guidelines. A judge cannot deny the marriage even if sex between the parties based on their ages is considered statutory rape.

"3,853 children were married in New York between 2000 and 2010, many with significant age differences. In 2011 alone, a 14-year-old married a 26-year-old in New York, and a 15-year- old married someone age "35 to 39." A 15-year-old was wed to a 28-year-old. Another 15-year-old was wed to a 25-year-old. All those marriages required approval from New York judges.”

New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin has introduced bill no. A. 5524-A. to change the child marriage law, to increase from the youngest age a person can marry from 14 to 17.  Paulin explains that under current law, a person does not have the capacity to consent to have sex until age 17 yet we allow a person under age 17 to get married.  Child marriage is a human rights abuse and has devastating effects on a girl's life, undermining her health, education and economic opportunities, and increasing the likelihood that she will experience violence.  Paulin "can't even begin to imagine the physical, psychological and emotional traumas these children have suffered.”  It is an impossible situation because we allow children to get married but we don’t give them a way out.  Children, for example, can’t sue for divorce in their own name and face obstacles if they try to access a domestic violence shelter.  “We must safeguard the health, safety and welfare of our children, who are the future of our society," Paulin said.

"Fraidy Reiss, founder and executive director of Unchained at Last, a nonprofit to end forced marriage, said that pressures such as religion, tradition, and economic status continue to drive child marriage in the Empire State." Meaning that, in New York State, some parents may use their children as pawns to alleviate their own economic pressures.

We need to change this. We need to show our support for Paulin and her proposed legislation. Call, email, or write letters to your own legislators in order to convince them to support this new bill. Child marriage is a form of slavery, like human trafficking, and we do not condone any form of human trafficking, especially within a nation defined by freedom.



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