We thought they were an appanage of developing countries, but on the contrary child brides exist in Florida too. Indeed between 2012 and 2016 1,828 marriage licences were granted in this State to couples of which at least one of the two was a minor, including one 13-year-old, seven 14-year-olds and 29 15 year-olds. And a man more than 90 years old succeeding in marrying a 16-year-old girl. Thus if until the middle of March no minimum age for marriage existed when a pregnancy was involved and when a judge’s endorsement had been obtained, now at last the prohibition of marriages between people under the age of 17 has been approved, ruling however that if a minor is involved, then in order for the couple to marry there must be no more than two years of difference between their ages and parental consent is required. The latter clarification is far from reassuring, given that in most cases it is precisely the parents who desire the marriage, especially when they feel they must repair the damage done. It is not by chance that one of the most passionate supporters of the promulgation of this prohibition is Sherry Johnson, an African-American now 58 years old who was born in Florida and forced – when she was only 11 years old and with a one-year-old daughter – to marry the man who had raped her in order to prevent him from being jailed.
St. Peter’s Square
April 22, 2019
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