On June 26th 2015 the United States Surpeme Court ruled that marriage equality would be the law of the land. My family and I happened to be vacationing in Washington DC on that day. The celebration and love in the city was a beautiful site.
Marriage equality has been a hot topic this decade. I find he term ” equality” to be an interesting description. I personally think if two consenting adults who love each other want to form a legal partnership through marriage then they should be able too. The current argument is that by legally allowing same sex couples to marry it will jeopardize the institution of marriage.
I take issue with this because while so much time and effort is being spent on preventing two consenting adults from enjoying the legal benefits of marriage. The nation as a whole has been mute on child marriage. Virginia was the first state in the nation to try and fill in the cracks in the legal system that alowe for perpetrators to marry their victims to avoid criminal prosecution. Why des this not threaten the institute of marriage and our values as a nation but same sex marriage does?
Currently there are bills to address child marriage in New Jersey, New York and Maryland. Hopefully it will keep going across the nation. In my current home state of Indiana we had a political circus in last years legistlative session in regards to same sex marriage. Once again Indiana was the butt on many jokes not just in the US but around the world. I wont go into detail here but more information can be found here; http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2015/03/31/indiana-religious-freedom-act-prompts-backlash-pundits-react
According Indiana law as of 2015 section IC 31-11-1-1 very clearly states that same sex marriage is prohibited. In further reading; IC 31-11-1-2&3 details marriage between related individuals and plural marriages.
Information on age requirements begins in section 4, minimum age of marriage is 18, or 17 with consent as long as both parties are at least 17. However continuing down, a female age 15 can with the courts permission marry a male who is at a minimum of 15 years of age if she is pregnant or a mother already as long as she is marrying the child’s father. I do not see any protections in here that protect a young woman from marrying a much older man if she is pregnant. Details can be found here; https://iga.in.gov/legislative/laws/2015/ic/titles/031/articles/011/
I wasn’t pregnant when I was coerced into married at the age of 15, however I was not able to attend school, I suffered abuse, shame and poverty as a result of this marriage. I did try to take GED classes after I returned home from Mississippi. I was met with rage and jealously from my ” spouse”. After a few months I of walking 2 miles each way to the facility that offered GED classes, just gave up. He was concerned that I would run off with someone my own age and he would lose his child bride he enjoyed having so much.
We also had financial troubles, he didn’t really earn a living. He was a ” self employed tree trimmer”. We faced eviction every month, shut off notices, we barley had any food and as I was still growing I wasn’t able to purchase new clothing that fit me. Once an older lady down the street gave me some of her old lady clothes she didn’t really wear anymore.
I went and got a job at a fast food restaurant to make ends meet and buy the things I needed and put finishing high school on hold.
My daily life consisted of “spouse’,waking up and smoking a joint; then he would either go to work or walk around neighborhoods asking people if they would pay him to cut their trees. Evenings alternated between him smoking pot with friends, abusng me, or falling asleep in his recliner after drinking a 40 oz bottle of beer. He pretty much earned enough to not be homeless and afford beer, cigarets and weed.
In the last year I have read stories like mine over and over again, young girls forced or coerced into marriges, they are abused, they have limited education and many are forbidden to work. How do you leave these abusevie situations when you don’t even have a high school education, no money, no job and are dealing with the trauma of the abuse and are just trying to survive. For me I bounced back in forth bewteen forging forward and doing whatever I could to keep moving in the direction of independance and plotting sucide. Somehow I made it to where I am today, but I still struggle, I’m still feeling this effects of this ” marriage” and trying to recover.
Peace and love,