from Market Design at http://bit.ly/2ve5hZT on August 7, 2017 at 01:44PM
"A Bay Area legislator was shocked when he learned from a young constituent that while Californians cannot legally consent to sex until they are 18, they can — with the permission of a parent and a judge’s order — get married at any age, even if their spouse is many years older.
“I thought, that can’t be true in California,” said state Sen. Jerry Hill, a Democrat from San Mateo. “We found that it is true in California and true in many states throughout the country.”
But Hill’s resulting proposal to bar juveniles from getting hitched has been watered down after it prompted strong objections from civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union.
As the emotional fight unfolds in Sacramento, there’s no agreement even about a basic piece of information — how many minors get married each year in California. People who want to limit such marriages say the total is in the thousands, while those who oppose the bill say that’s vastly inflated.
The state doesn’t keep such numbers, and even efforts to change that are running into resistance."
"Activists aiming to stop such marriages say they occur across demographic groups, spurred by religious reasons, cultural norms, pregnancy, financial incentives or, in some cases, to protect someone from statutory-rape accusations because marriage circumvents the age-of-consent requirement.
Nationally, about 5 of every 1,000 children ages 15 to 17 were married as of 2014, according to U.S. census data analyzed by the Pew Research Center — figures that don’t specify where the marriages occurred. Activists for age restrictions estimate that California sees about 3,000 marriages per year that include a minor.
The ACLU and other opponents say that estimate is inflated, noting that just 44 petitions for juvenile marriage were filed in Los Angeles County — which has a population just above 10 million — over the past five years.
The focus of efforts should be on abusive and coerced relationships, regardless of marital status, said Phyllida Burlingame of the ACLU’s Northern California chapter.
Referring to current regulations, including the requirement of a court order allowing a juvenile to marry, she said California had “a strong package of both programs and laws that prevent coerced marriage among youth, and a lack of data showing this is a widespread problem.” Hill’s original proposal, she said, “was a solution that wasn’t necessarily going to have the impact on improving young people’s health and relationships that we want.”
HT: Jen Stack