Groups like the Kentucky Family Foundation have been fighting the scourge of marriage equality for same-sex couples for years now. Now they’re fighting a different battle; they’re determined to allow 50-year-old men to marry 13-year-old girls.
Even more shocking? They’re winning the battle according to Kentucky Republican state representative Julie Raque Adams, the sponsor of a bill to raise the legal age to marry in the state. Kentucky has the third highest rate of child marriages in the nation.
“It is disgusting that lobbying organizations would embrace kids marrying adults. We see evidence of parents who are addicted, abusive, neglectful pushing their children into predatory arms. Appalling,” Adams said in a tweet after the bill was yanked hours before a crucial vote. It was the second time the bill had been pulled.
Current law allows 16 and 17-year-olds to marry with their parents’ permission. Pregnant teens under the age of 16 can get married with a judge’s permission, despite the obvious proof that the girl has been sexually abused by the adult.
A proposed new law would update the state’s marriage laws to set 18 as the age to be married. 17-year-olds would be able to get married with a judge’s permission if the two would-be spouses are within four years of age. Read more via LGBTQ Nation
After weekend of national shaming, Kentucky’s ‘child bride’ bill to move forward
Update: The bill unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and could be called for a vote this week, Associated Press reported.
Kentucky is somewhat accustomed to national scorn and stereotyping, but this weekend’s reaction to stories about legislation on child brides was particularly swift. From stories in Newsweek, Huffington Post and USA Today to tweets from all over the country, people had plenty to say, none of it good, about how Senate Bill 48 had stalled in the General Assembly, apparently over trampled parental rights.
But now everyone can calm down, says the chairman of the Kentucky Senate Judiciary Committee.
“While everyone on Twitter was calling people names yesterday I was working with stakeholders on @jrajra’s SB48 (which I fully support as-filed) and I plan to hold a called meeting of my committee to hear it sooner so we can pass it and get it to the House ASAP!” Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, posted on Twitter Saturday.