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CT Chain-In to End Child Marriage

The bill to end child marriage is stalled in the CT Senate.

The House already passed it, and the Governor promised to sign it. If they don’t act by Wednesday, the bill will die.

Connecticut could end child marriage right now — but HB6569, the bill that would ban it in the state, is stalling in the Senate and may not be called for a floor vote.
We need to take immediate action to urge the Senate President, Senator Martin Looney, to schedule the bill for a vote. Following are two action items:
  • Please follow this link for an email campaign targeted at CT Senate President Looney. The Senate President has the power to bring HB6569 to the floor for a vote right now and end child marriage in Connecticut. The session ends on Wednesday and the bill will die if it is not voted upon. Customize the email to let him know you are a JP or town clerk.
  • Gather at the Connecticut State Capitol tomorrow (Friday) wearing bridal gowns and veils, with our arms chained and mouths taped, to protest forced and child marriage and urge Connecticut senators to pass HB6569, the simple, commonsense bill that would eliminate all marriage before age 18, no exceptions.

Chain-In Hartford
June 2, 2023 at 10:00 AM
Connecticut State Capitol
210 Capitol Ave., Hartford, CT

If the senate doesn’t take action, this may turn  into a perpetual Chain-In:  at the capitol EVERY DAY until the end of the legislative session (June 7), unless the senate passes the bill.
Please join in! Details, FAQ and registration are HERE.
Thank you to our champions in the House! Representative Jillian Gillchrest, Representative Cristin McCarthy Vahey and Representative Sarah Keitt are busy navigating the politics to get this bill over the finish line.

Related Links

  • On May 3, 2023, the bill passed the House 98 to 45. Hooray! Watch the debate on the House floor. (Trigger warning: some verbiage by opponents of the bill is infuriating – and untrue.)
  • Legislative activity in Connecticut to end child marriage, including JPus’ testimony to legislators.
  • Information and a link to view JPus’ panel discussion about child marriage in Connecticut.
  • Landing page for JPus activity involving child marriage in all of our states.
  • Education and training for officiants about child and forced marriage
  • How membership voted to join the Coalition to End Child Marriage.

JP Appointments Bill in Jeopardy

Vote YES on SB1140 Inclusive of Section 3 Working Group

Please take a few minutes to email your Senator and Representative and ask them to vote YES on SB1140 inclusive of Section 3, creating a JP Working Group

  1. Look up your State Representative and Senator
  2. Call or send your State Representative and Senator an email asking them to support SB1140 – Inclusive of Section 3.
See talking points and sample e-mail language below. The details are important.

Current Situation

On May 16, 2023,  a new amendment was submitted in the Senate that guts the part of the bill establishing a working group (Section 3) evaluating the JP appointment process and training qualifications. This is driven by some in the Senate who don’t want any changes to the ways JPs are appointed. They like the power and leverage available to DTC and RTC Chairs. Even though it is an unfair system.
All of our hard work during the past year is on the line. We need every JP and Town Clerk (and their friends and family) who care about this to contact their State Senator and Representative and ask them to reject this amendment and instead vote for Substitute Senate Bill 1140 inclusive of Section 3

Talking Points and Background on SB1140,
An Act Concerning the Appointment of Justices of the Peace

Section 3 is reflected in Substitute Senate Bill 1140, starting on line 98:

  • (a) There is established a working group to examine and make recommendations on (a) the methods of determining how many justices of the peace positions there are in each town and statewide; (b) the portability of justice of the peace appointments across town lines; (c) the process by which justices of the peace are selected; (d) potential training, minimum qualifications, application process, and background check requirements; (e) oversight; (f) legal ramifications of misrepresenting status as a justice of the peace; (g) issues related to reporting trafficking, forced marriage, and marriage fraud; and (h) any other relevant issues.
  • Membership of the working group is bipartisan, and inclusive of JPs, Town Clerks, DTC and RTC chairs, minor political parties, the SOTS/designee and JPus/designee.
The Planning and Development Committee voted unanimously to support SB1140, inclusive of Section 3. Here is the Joint Favorable report.

Key findings of JPus’ research

  • Systemic unfairness in appointment process: Favoritism, inequality between political parties, lack of portability between towns.
  • Disparity between municipalities: Three different rules are used to determine how many JP slot are available in each city or town.
  • No training requirement: This creates opportunity for nonfeasance, jeopardizing the legality of marriages and quality of services to the public. Trained JPs are partners to recognize forced marriage and human trafficking and marriage fraud. Thus, they are another team member to protect our most vulnerable.

Related Links

Remember – as marriage officiants and town clerks, your voice and perspective matters.

CT JP Appointments ~ Q&A

We’ve heard the complaints from JPs and Town Clerks about Connecticut’s JP appointment process and the lack of JP qualifications. As a result, last year the Justice of the Peace Association took action and performed extensive research. And then, last month we released our white paper with our findings.
On Thursday, March 30, 2023 at 6PM, join me for a Zoom presentation and Q&A. We’ll talk about what we learned, what was done and what is next. This is an interactive session for JPs and Town Clerks.

Q&A, March 30th at 6:00 PM

The March 30, 2023 Q&A event has already taken place.

As a result of JPus’ efforts there has been lots of activity! Meetings with the Secretary of State and State legislators, testimony before a legislative committee and more. Read more.

Related Links

Child Marriage Press Conference in CT

JPus was honored when Connecticut Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz invited its managing member to speak at her press conference imploring the end of child marriage in Connecticut. On March 13, 2023, Loretta Jay joined child marriage survivors, other advocates, State Legislators, the DCF Commissioner and the Lt. Governor to urge the passage of HB6569.

Watch Press Conference


Related Links

Survey: Friends and Family

One of the nice things about being a part of a professional membership association is the connectedness with fellow JPs and notaries. We share stories. We hear about the good – and the not-so-good. We learn and we grow and we benefit. One such story is the officiant who performs a ceremony for their family member. As an example, perhaps you’ve noticed the photo to the right, which is also on this website’s homepage slider. This is our co-founder, Saul Haffner, officiating at his granddaughter Abby’s wedding to Mike. This opportunity gave Saul so much joy, and Abby treasures the memory.

When Saul did Abby’s wedding, he was already a pro. Alternatively, sometimes the officiant is a newbie. They are either so overcome with the love that they get hooked and continue performing weddings for others. Or, was it a once-was-enough, been there, done that?

Take the Survey

We’d like to quantify these subjective stories. Whether or not you’ve performed a wedding for a friend or family member, please complete our survey.

Take Survey

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