Missouri child marriage ban

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‘Hypocrisy’: Missouri Republicans criticized for supporting child marriage but not abortion

One X user called child marriage 'an odd f**king hill to die on.'


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on May 15, 2024   Updated on May 16, 2024, 7:34 am CDT

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The Bill: 

Missouri State Senate Bill 767, introduced by Missouri State Senator Holly Thompson Rehder, would prohibit granting marriage licenses for individuals under 18 years of age—commonly known as a child marriage ban.

Currently, 16 year olds can get married in Missouri with parental consent. And some state representatives, like Republican Dean Van Schoiack, would like to keep it that way.

“Why is the government getting involved in people’s lives like this?” Van Schoiack told the Kansas City Star. “What purpose do we have in deciding that a couple who are 16 or 17 years old, their parents say, you know, ‘you guys love each other, go ahead and get married, you have my permission.’ Why would we stop that?”

Another Missouri Republican Representative, Hardy Billington, told the Star that child marriage can prevent abortion—so he’s against banning it.

“If someone (wants to) get married at 17, and they’re going to have a baby and they cannot get married, then…chances of abortion are extremely high,” Billington told the Star. Abortion is almost entirely illegal in Missouri.

The Backlash: 

State Republican Representatives opposed to SB 767 are being fiercely criticized online

One X user called child marriage “an odd fucking hill to die on” and the Benton County Missouri Democrats called Van Schoiack’s comments “hypocrisy at a whole new level.”

“So banning child marriage is an interference to personal lives, but abortion isn’t,” a tweeted from the Benton County group said.

Another X user said the Republican attempt to block Missouri’s child marriage ban is the continuation of “a troubling pattern of GOP representatives advocating for policies that endanger the vulnerable.”

And the Executive Director of Blue Missouri, a Democratic group in the state, Jess Piper tweeted about publicizing the names of representatives who support child marriage.

“We should pay for billboards across the state that say Missouri House Republicans support child marriage,” Piper said. “It’s shocking and true.”

The Background: 

Twelve states have already passed a child marriage ban. As elected officials in states in which child marriage is still legal debate child marriage, many proponents of the controversial practice have revealed themselves: A New Hampshire state representative got backlash online for opposing a ban on child marriage in the state last week when he called potential teen brides “ripe” and “fertile.”

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*First Published: May 15, 2024, 6:00 am CDT