In the United States, it is still legal to marry a child in 48 of the 50 states. In fact, over 9.4 million children have been married under the age of 16 in the US alone, and most are young girls wed to adult men.
Child marriage affects all aspects of a girl’s life and future. It significantly raises her chances of experiencing sexual violence and abuse, and increases her likelihood of becoming pregnant at an age when it is medically dangerous for her to do so. A girl married before 18 has a much higher chance of dropping out of school, leaving her vulnerable and dependent on her partner.
Just two US states have outlawed child marriage and right now, two more — Pennsylvania and Massachusetts — are close to banning the practice for good too. Thousands of girls have been married as children in these states. But each state is now working to protect its children by passing bills that would close all the loopholes that currently make it possible for children to be married.
After both bills have cleared the House and Senate, it will be down to the state governors to ensure the legislation passes and becomes law.
In anticipation of this moment, we’re asking Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Barker to be the heroes we need and stand united to end child marriage by pledging to pass the bills when they land on their desks.
Ask Governor Tom Wolf and Governor Charlie Barker to stand up for girls’ futures — tweet now!