Effective implementation of law prohibiting child marriages in Washington state

As of June 6th, a new law has been enacted in Washington that bans child marriages, making it the 11th state to do so. The law prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from getting married.

As of June 6, House Bill 1455 is now in effect, after being passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee earlier this year.

Before the implementation of the new law, Washington was among the five states that did not have any minimum age requirement for marriage. In those states, even children below the age of 18 could legally get married with the permission of a judge, while 17-year-olds only needed the consent of their parents to tie the knot.

During this year’s legislative session in Olympia, survivors of forced child marriage provided powerful testimony during the bill’s debate. Their passionate stories shed light on the devastating impact that forced child marriage can have on young lives.

She recalled, “On my wedding night, as a 12-year-old bride, I was raped. It’s a harsh reality that child marriage exists in America.”

During a testimony to lawmakers, Sara Tasneem, a survivor, recounted how she was only 15 years old when her father compelled her to marry a 28-year-old man while she was staying with him over the summer.

Tasneem recounted how her father introduced her to a man one morning and informed her that she would be marrying him that same night. Without her mother’s knowledge, a spiritual wedding ceremony was conducted, and Tasneem’s father handed her over to her abuser, leaving her in his care. It was a traumatic experience that Tasneem had to endure.

In her own words, she revealed, “I experienced being taken out of the country, being raped, and ultimately getting pregnant.”

During her testimony to lawmakers, Tasneem revealed that her abuser had brought her back into the country after six months.

“After enduring years of abuse, it took me a grueling seven years to finally break free from my abuser. The process of finalizing my divorce added an additional three years of difficulty to my journey towards healing. ”

During the hearing, Fraidy Reiss, a member of Unchained at Last, an organization that aims to put an end to child marriage, gave her testimony in favor of the bill.

According to Reiss, around 70 to 80 percent of child marriages ultimately result in divorce, leaving the young individuals involved without a home. Furthermore, parents may be motivated to marry off their children as a means of avoiding child support payments. As Reiss explains, once a child is married, they are considered emancipated.

Reference Article

Avatar photo
MBS Staff
Articles: 7528

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *