California law minors dating adults speed dating new year
“All those opportunities and freedom of being a child are gone.” 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. census data analyzed by the Pew Research Center — figures that don’t specify where the marriages occurred.
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.
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.
Like a tanning bed or voting, you can’t get a waiver from your parents,” said Sarah Bradshaw of the Feminist Majority, which promotes equality for women.
“We’re hoping that people in the Assembly will put teeth back in it.” The debate has energized people like Nicole, a 29-year-old resident of Stanislaus County who at age 16 married a 24-year-old man with the blessing of a judge.
“My grandparents were willing to ignore every bruise,” she said.
“It’s our responsibility to protect those kids,” he said.
Among those disappointed by the result of the compromise is Sara Tasneem of El Sobrante, who said the amended bill won’t help children and will only make elected officials feel like they did something.
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 measure in its current form increases family court oversight to ensure that a minor’s marriage isn’t coerced, including a requirement that judges interview individuals privately.