Rhode Island is advancing a pair of good bills, SB 398 and HB 5378, which would increase the minimum age for marriage to 18 — with no exceptions. Please take a few moments to make your voice heard on this important issue.
More than 200,000 minors in the United States were married between 2000 and 2015. A report published earlier this year warns that the Covid-19 pandemic is threatening decades of progress toward eliminating child marriage worldwide. School closures, economic stress, service disruptions, pregnancy and parental deaths are putting an additional 10 million girls globally at risk for child marriage before the end of the decade.
According to UNICEF, minors who are married are 50 percent more likely to drop out of school. Additionally, early marriage doubles a teenager’s chances of living in poverty and triples the likelihood that he or she will be a victim of domestic violence, compared to married adults. Often, these marriages stem from antiquated and horrifying religious beliefs that compromise the safety of children, but many states still allow the practice in order to pacify powerful theocratic constituencies.
Click on the red “Take Action” link to use our automated system to contact your state lawmakers and urge them to vote yes on these bills. Feel free to use or adapt the talking points provided.