Julie Raque Adams, who serves as a Kentucky state senator, recently introduced what shouldn’t have been a controversial bill. It would have banned adults from marrying children under the age of 18, which is currently legal in the state.
But Adams’ bill quickly stalled in the Kentucky Senate, leaving her disappointed and outraged. She told a local newspaper:
“It is disgusting that lobbying organizations would embrace kids marrying adults. We see evidence of parents who are addicted, abusive, neglectful pushing their children into predatory arms.
“This is legalized rape of children. We cannot allow that to continue in Kentucky, and I cannot believe we are even debating this is the year 2018 in the United States.”
Currently in the Bluegrass State, minors can marry at 16 or 17 with a parent’s permission. Teens under 16 are allowed to marry with a judge’s permission. SB 48 would have changed that to 18 but allowed 17-year-olds to marry provided they got the permission of a judge and the age difference between the spouses was less than four years.
Donna Pollard was married at the age of 16 to an older man who began sexually abusing her when she was only 14. She has been a vocal advocate of the bill, which would have eliminated child brides. And she says she was shocked to see some of the groups that lobbied against SB 48, including the Kentucky Family Foundation, a conservative group that lobbies lawmakers on social issues. She also told the Courier-Journal:
“The man she now calls her ‘perpetrator’ became violent and abusive after they married in 2000, a wedding she said was encouraged by her mother, who married at 13.
“‘I felt just completely and totally trapped,’ said Pollard, now divorced.”
Some Republicans said their problem with the legislation was due to the fact that a judge would get involved in the matter of who could or couldn’t get married. Senator. John Schickel (R) remarked:
“I had some problems with the bill. Decisions involving a minor child should be made by a parent, not the court.”
Even if that decision might scar the child for life?
Sounds like Kentucky needs to join the rest of us here in the 21st century and stop allowing such antiquated notions as child brides to exist.