June 20, 2019
Global Hope 365, joined by nonprofits around the country, firmly advocates for the end of Child Marriage. The most effective way to end Child Marriage is by changing state law, state by state, to “18 no exceptions” laws.
Louisiana is the latest state to prioritize old-fashioned patriarchy over the human rights of children. A bill was introduced in March 2019 to the Louisiana state legislature to end Child Marriage but was watered down by lawmakers. Similar to California, Louisiana did not have an “age floor” which mean children of any age could legally marry. The bill was introduced to raise the minimum age to 18, in line with global human rights guidelines. Similar to AB139 in Nevada, SB172 faced opposition that caused the bill to be weakened and thus weakening protections for children.
Lawmakers in Louisiana fought to lower the age floor to 17 and eventually 16. The bill now protects children 15 and under but 16 and 17 year-olds will continue to be subject to parental and judicial discretion which pose huge risks to the safety and well-being of girls. Louisiana lawmakers argue that the law should allow children to marry should they become pregnant. The concept that “marriage” legitimizes a pregnancy is a deep-rooted patriarchal myth. In many cases, the opposite is the reality as young girls are subject to forced or coerced marriages which subjected them to abuse of all kinds. A man does not make a girl or a baby more “legitimate.” This idea is promulgated by men throughout society and is waning from the American popular thought after waves of human rights and equality have echoed through American society, first as social changes in attitudes and secondly as legal updates.
As a nonprofit advocating to end Child Marriage in California, we relate to the plight of lawmakers and activists in Louisiana to raise the minimum wage. Support for the bill in Louisiana has bipartisan support and we salute the efforts of both Senator Yvonne Colomb, a Baton Rouge Democrat and Rep. Stephanie Hilferty, a New Orleans Republican to raise the minimum age for marriage in Louisiana. Rep. Stephanie Hilferty, a New Orleans Republican, said the idea of a 15-year-old getting married was "disturbing." She said a minimum age was "desperately needed" to keep people from "covering up acts of rape as a marriage."
At Global Hope 365, we will continue to advocate for an “18 no exceptions” law in California, and support all similar efforts across the country.