Keeping Innocence Innocent- End Child Marriages in North Carolina

Keeping Innocence Innocent- End Child Marriages in North Carolina

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Tulsi Patel started this petition to North Carolina State House and

"To have and to hold, for better, for worse,...in sickness and in health...Until death do us apart...I do" These are the vows we take with our significant others. These are also similar vows children as young as 14 are coerced into taking before they even grasp their highschool diploma. As North Carolina continues to grow and thrive, it has become a breeding ground for child marriages.

North Carolina currently ranks as one of the worst 5 states in the United States with regards to child marriages. A “pregnancy exception” within North Carolina laws allows children as young as 14 to be coerced into marriage. Over 8,781 minors have been documented marrying within North Carolina. There are also no civil laws regarding the age gap between spouses at marriage when the marriage involves a minor. Overall 93% of minors are married to adults. Marriage to someone under the age of 18 creates the conditions for statutory rape, however, county registrars are forced to approve the marriage application because of the lack of coherence between the state’s civil and criminal laws. 

Due to these laws, children are put at risk of poverty, disease, and abuse. Many are left without education while being forced to practically be a single parent. The experience leaves a lasting impact on the child creating mental issues as they grow older.

With this in mind, North Carolina legislators should ban child marriages by removing the pregnancy exception at NC Statute 51-2 and set a firm minimum age of marriage at 18 with no exceptions. Let's protect our minor's innocence, not chain them up.

(Statistics from International Center for Research on Women- Child Marriages in North Carolina)

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