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Announcement Topic: Legislation & Advocacy

Politics of Child Marriage

Challenges getting legislation passed to end child marriageJPus’ managing member, Loretta Jay, was interviewed about the politics that affect legislation to end child marriage. A visiting fellow from Turkey, Dr. Senem Ertan-Savas is the lead investigator of the study. She is with the  Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School.

This research will systematically examine the dynamics of legislation to increase the age of marriage in different states. Furthermore, it will also investigate the debates around minimum age of marriage and the interaction between actors or factors involved in the legislation processes.

“It’s exciting that the Justice of the Peace Association’s advocacy efforts to end child marriage are recognized and included in this important research,” says Loretta Jay.  One area Dr. Ertan-Savas asked about is the strategies JPus thinks are  the most effective. (Answer: mobilizing constituents and behind the scenes work to resolve potential roadblocks.) Indeed, one of the most frustrating and sad realizations is when legislation to end child marriage stalls – even though there is no lobby opposing it.

When finished, the work will be submitted for publication in a scientific journal. Furthermore, a book is also in the works. Of course, JPus will share the published work when ready.

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Survey – Officiant Qualifications & Appointments

Each state has a different process to appoint marriage officiants. We frequently hear about problems in Connecticut. There, justice of the peace appointments are political – even though there is nothing political about the role. The resulting problems are multifold, as evidenced by the many complaints reported to JPus from our members. In response, JPus is working with legislators and the Secretary of the State’s office and interviewing stakeholders. The plan is to formulate the research into a white paper to enact legislative change.

A related matter is qualifications – especially when comparing professionals with amateurs officiants.  At JPus we oftentimes hear from members who suggest that training should be required before someone performs a wedding. Please tell us your opinion by completing our survey.

1-Day Solemnizer – Calls Needed

Massachusetts Call to Action

A hearing on the Resolve to establish a Commission to evaluate the 1-Day Solemnizer rule will be held on Tuesday, September 22, 2021. Calls are needed to Committee Chairs to vote S.2063 favorably out of Committee. Details, including Committee Chairs’ phone numbers and a simple script are available on our Action Alert page.

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Maine raises age to wed

Children must be 16 to marry in Maine

Not quite what we were hoping for, but a step in the right direction. The minimum age to marry in Maine is now 16. Prior to this new law going into effect on January 1, 2020, any child, no matter how young, was allowed to marry if their parent and a probate judge approved.

Partners: Unchained At Last

JPus announces a new partnership with a national non-profit working to end child marriages.

Unchained at Last is dedicated to creating social, policy and legal change to end forced and child marriage in America. It helps women and girls leave or avoid arranged/forced marriages and rebuild their lives. JPus recognizes the ethical dilemma marriage officiants would find themselves in if asked to perform a child marriage. Our members have clearly stated their opposition to child marriages. Read more.

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