Child Marriage in Indiana

The minimum age for marriage and exceptions are different in each state in the United States. This information is specific to Indiana

In 2019 the minimum age to marry in Indiana is 18. But…you can merry at 17 with only a parents consent. In the case of pregnancy a marriage license can be issued to anyone age 15-16 with both parent consent and approval from a judge. In Indiana 3,108 child were married between 2002-2014. Most of these marriage were minor girls marrying adult men. What is missing from this is an investigation into how this child became pregnant. If the child being married off to cover up a crime? Does the child want to get married? Does this child know that they have options beyond getting married?

I want to share some thoughts with you all on this;

Marriage is supposed to be FOREVER. it evolves not only the bride, but their future children born during the marriage. Both families come together. Marriage impacts so many peoples lives for a very very long time. The divorce rate of child marriages is 80%! Teenagers are not mature enough to make these life impacting choices. Their life experience is limited and their brains are not even fully developed. We have laws in place to try and protect teenagers from themselves. They can get a license to operate a vehicle until they are 16 and even then their parents can say no until they are 18. Teenagers cannot purchase alcohol or tobacco products until they are 18. They cannot vote or stop attending school. Someone please explain to me why teenagers are mature and capable enough to consent to getting married but are not mature enough to drink, smoke,vote or drop out of school. It doesn’t add up. We expect our parents to watch over, teach and protect their children. When they don’t often there are laws in place to protect the child. If you have been to a convenience store lately, you have probably seen a sign stating it is illegal to purchase alcohol and tobacco products for minors. If you do your going to get into trouble. But its totally fine to marry off your 15 year old daughter to a 40 year old man! The system is broken and needs to be fixed.

Obnoxious Teenagers

Teenagers can be tough. I currently live with three of them right now. They think they know it all, nothing bad is ever going to happen to them. All those cautionary tales that parents give are just to spoil their fun. One of my kids doesn’t particularly like going to school. If I gave in and said yes! You don;t have to go to school anymore, the cops would eventually show up at my door and I would be in trouble for not sending my kids to school. I am also the annoying mom who wont let my teen attend parties where there is underage drinking. Again I have no clue what parent would risk jail time to serve alcohol at their teens gathering. Blows my mind! My teen will rage against me ” just because others are drinking doesn’t mean that I am” ” and my favorite; ” you don’t trust me or want me to have any fun”. Get over it kid, I will protect you until you are 18 and I cannot stop you from making stupid choices. That is my job as a parent to protect and guide my kids no matter how much they resist. Our home is a safe, loving environment for these young adults to tests the waters and have an adult hand close by to grab them if they start to drown. Marrying your child off I feel is like tying their feet to a concrete block and letting them drown.

Social Norms

Let me ask you this, if you were invited to a wedding where the bride was 15 and the groom was lets say 31 years old. Would you be overwhelmed with love and excitement for this couple or would you be like..hmmm I don’t about this? I’m just kidding these young girls don’t get fancy weddings. No one celebrates them and wishes them well. The weddings are done in leggings at the court house surrounded by shame not well wishers. Would you let your 14/15 year old daughter go spend the night at the home of a 15 year old girl who is married to a 35 year old man? Most people do not think that any of this is OK. I am well aware that some individuals believe that a child born out of wedlock is the worst thing ever. I am not saying that I think teen pregnancy is cool.But when child marriage has an 80% divorce rate how is this a solution to a problem? That is an 80% fail rate!

Laws can and should change

It wasn’t that long ago that people of different races were not allowed to get married. Loving vs Virginia paved the way for legalizing same sex marriage. In 2004 Massachusetts became the same sex wedding destination capital of the US. Some states recognized it and some did not. I am sure we all remember the clerk in KY who refused to issues same sex marriage licenses. I wonder how many child marriage licenses she had no problem issuing. I was fortunate enough to be in DC. on June 26, 2015 when the Supreme court ruled that same sex marriages are legal and recognized in every state. The white house light up in rainbows that evening. We heard all the arguments against legalizing same sex marriage,” this is an attack of the institution of marriage”, “its immoral”, “it will erode the moral fabric of our society”. ironically, ” are we going to let pedophiles marry children?”. ” Whats next? you can marry your dog?” We see similar arguments in going state by state trying to ban child marriage. One representative even said, ” I have hotels full of pregnant girls next to military bases needing husbands”. My first thought is why do you have hotels filled with pregnant girls? What the heck is going on in your district? Please assemble a committee and find out what is happening!

In Summary

The arguments for not banning child marriage are lame. We need to talk about how child marriage is the most organized form of child abuse. If your teenager is raising heck in your household make an appointment with a counselor not marry off the teen. If you see something say something. Lets ban child marriage in every state across the whole US like yesterday.

Published by Genevieve Meyer

Genevieve Meyer always felt like a throwaway​ child - a lost cause that no one wanted to invest anything into. "When I was married off at 15 that feeling was solidified. People knew it was going to happen. I even asked for help - a place to live, someone to intervene - but no one rescued me. I was just a 'poor white trash girl' with a difficult, mentally-ill mother and no one gave my being married off to a 42-year-old man a second thought." Child marriage is currently legal in all but one state in the U.S. The repercussions of this reality are real - domestic violence, inability to complete education, lack of job skills - all leading to being trapped in the marriage. Meyer has lived in the Fort Wayne area for 14 years. She recently earned her MBA, following completion of an undergraduate degree at Purdue Fort Wayne. She manages a mental health facility in Fort Wayne which helps children and their families heal from trauma. Driven by her own story of trauma, she works to advocate and educate about the harmful effects of child marriage. She lives in the country with her husband of 12 years, and together they are raising 4 children and several animals.

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