Fight to end child marriage in Pennsylvania comes to Philadelphia

A rally was held Saturday in the City Hall courtyard.

Dan Wing
May 12, 2018 - 3:42 pm
Child Marriage Rally

Dan Wing/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- A rally was held in the City Hall courtyard Saturday afternoon calling on Pennsylvania lawmakers to pass a bill that would require anyone who wants to get married be at least 18 years old. 

House Bill 1038 was introduced just about one year ago by State Representative Perry Warren of Bucks County, who hopes to get it passed by the end of this legislative session. As it stands right now, any child, no matter their age, can be placed into an arranged marriage, a fact that Warren says many people and even lawmakers aren't aware of.

"And they'll say, 'child marriage, is that a thing?' And in fact, in Pennsylvania, yes it is," Warren said.

In addition to maturity and decision making, not to mention ethical concerns, Warren says anyone under 18 also doesn't have the legal support an adult would while entering into a marriage.

"The right to enter into a binding retainer agreement with an attorney, the right to bring an action in their own names in a court, essentially the right to divorce," Warren said.

The rally was organized by unchainedatlast.org, a non-profit that helps girls avoid or get out of arranged marriages. 

Delaware recently became the first state to pass legislation that would end child marriages, and unchainedatlast.org wants to see Pennsylvania become the second before getting laws banning the practice in every state.