End Child Marriages

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The Justice of the Peace Association’s membership is opposed to child marriages. The US State Department called child marriage a human rights abuse. Many JPus members have stated that they would not perform them. Consequently, JPus has advocated to end all marriages involving children younger than 18 years of age.

Coalition to End Child Marriage

Following a fall 2018 vote of its members, the Justice of the Peace Association proudly joined the National Coalition to End Child Marriage in the United States. The coalition brings together organizations and individuals working toward passage of federal legislation to help end child marriage in the United States. Read more.

Legislative Advocacy

When legislation is pending in a state where our members live and work, JPus lets our voice be heard.

Connecticut

Until October 2017, a child of any age could marry in Connecticut with a probate judge’s approval. During the 2021 session, efforts to raise the age to 18, no exceptions, were unsuccessful. Read more.

Massachusetts

JPus joined forces with the Massachusetts Coalition to End Child Marriage and submitted testimony to increase the minimum age to wed from 16 to 18. Read more.

Maine

Sixteen year olds may marry in Maine. In 2021, the Justice of the Peace Association is joining forces with others to raise the age to 18 – no exceptions, but the bill died. Read more.

New Hampshire

The minimum age to wed in New Hampshire is sixteen. As recently as 2018, the age was 13 for girls and 14 for boys. Read about our work in New Hampshire here.

Pennsylvania – Goal Achieved! 

In June 2019 JPus submitted a statement to the Pennsylvania State Senate urging support for SB81. This would further restrict the issuance of a marriage license, and its passage would end child marriage in the state. The bill passed unanimously through both the House and Senate, and Governor Tom Wolf signed it into law on May 8, 2020.

California

The California state legislature considered a bill in August 2018 that would have ended child marriage. Unfortunately, it was watered down so much that no minimum age was set in some circumstances. Consequently, JPus urged that the bill be rejected and that a replacement be submitted without loopholes.

Training

JPus partnered with the Tahirih Foundation and developed the first and only training about child and forced marriage specifically for marriage officiants. This free training is available on JPus’ Training website.

Partnerships

Establishing a partnership with a national non-profit that works to end child marriages amplifies the voice of our membership. Unchained at Last is dedicated to creating social, policy and legal change to end forced and child marriage in America. Read more.

JPus is proud to be part of Tahirih Justice Center’s network of service providers, community advocates, and government agencies with the necessary tools and expertise to help individuals at risk of child and forced marriage. This partnership supports our efforts to increase awareness and provide education and training to wedding officiants. Read more.

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