West Virginia to ban child marriages after centuries of neglecting outdated law

Kristina by Alexander Bayurov on

West Virginia has taken a major step forward in protecting the rights and welfare of children by passing a new law that bans child marriages in the state. The new law, signed by Governor Jim Justice in March 2022, prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from getting married, regardless of parental consent. Prior to this new law, West Virginia allowed minors as young as 16 to marry with parental and judicial consent. However, this put young people at risk of being forced into marriage, which can have serious consequences for their physical, mental, and emotional health. Child marriage is also linked to higher rates of poverty, domestic violence, and lack of access to education and employment opportunities. The ban on child marriages in West Virginia comes after years of advocacy from organizations and activists who have been working to end this harmful practice. The new law was supported by a coalition of groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of West Virginia, the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Unchained at Last, a national organization that works to end forced and child marriages in the United States.

The passage of the law was a major victory for advocates, who have been fighting to end child marriage in the United States. According to the advocacy group Girls Not Brides, more than 300,000 minors were married in the United States between 2000 and 2018, with the majority of them being girls. In many cases, these marriages were forced, with young people being pressured into marrying someone against their will. The ban on child marriages in West Virginia is a significant step forward in protecting the rights and well-being of children in the state. It sends a clear message that child marriage is a harmful and unacceptable practice that has no place in modern society. While there is still much work to be done to end child marriage across the United States, the ban in West Virginia is an important milestone in the fight to protect children from this form of abuse. Overall, the ban on child marriages in West Virginia is a positive development for the state and for the rights of children across the country. By recognizing the harmful impact of this practice and taking action to end it, West Virginia has taken a significant step forward in protecting the welfare of its young people and setting an example for other states to follow.