Local Organization Joins National Coalition to End Child Marriage in the United States
December 14, 2018, Fairfield, CT. The Fairfield-based Justice of the Peace Association (JPus) joined the national Coalition to End Child Marriage in the United States, which launched this week in recognition of Human Rights Day. In October 2018 JPus’ membership voted overwhelmingly by 95% to join the coalition.
The Coalition to End Child Marriage brings together organizations and individuals working to end all marriages of children younger than 18 in the United States. Child marriage, which happens legally in 48 states including Connecticut, destroys girls’ health, education and economic opportunities, and increases their risk of experiencing violence. It is at odds with the JPus Code of Ethics that requires officiants to act in the best interest of their clients. JPus members voiced opposition to child marriages, saying they would not feel comfortable performing them and would refuse to do so.
“Our responsibility is to represent our membership, whether it is connecting couples to their perfect officiant on findaJP.com, or making sure members’ voices are heard in public discourse.” says Loretta Jay, who leads the organization. “JPus believes in conducting responsible business, focusing on social good. Our members want all marriages be safe and consensual. These goals are aligned with each other, making participation in the coalition an easy decision.”
The problem of child marriage is real. According to Unchained at Last, a non-profit that works to end child marriage through direct service and advocacy, about 248,000 children as young as 12 were married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010. It was only one year ago (October 1, 2017) that Connecticut increased its minimum age to wed to 16 with parental consent and probate court approval. Before that there was no minimum age in the state – and 18 other states still have no minimum age for marriage.
Married girls are twice as likely to live in poverty and three times more likely than married women to be physically abused by their spouse. Close to 80 percent of child marriages end in divorce. Now, for the first time, organizations and individuals, including survivors, are working together to reform federal law, policies and regulations to end child marriage throughout the country. “The Coalition is excited to welcome JPus to our growing movement of those who want to reform federal laws and policies to end child marriage,” said Anji Manivannan, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Unchained At Last, which co-convened the Coalition with Equality Now.
The Justice of the Peace Association (www.JPus.org) connects members with couples, sets professional standards and represents membership in public discourse. Its goal is to support secular marriage officiants with the performance of their duties. Couples can find their perfect marriage officiant at findaJP.com, the place for couples who click!
The mission of the Coalition is to end marriage below age 18, the age of majority, and repeal all loopholes and exemptions in federal law, policies and regulations that enable, and even encourage, “child marriage.” www.endchildmarriageus.org.