Unchained At Last

Amplifying Voices

The Justice of the Peace Association established a partnership with Unchained at Last, a non-profit dedicated to promoting social, policy and legal change to end forced and child marriage in America.

Unchained at Last 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. Child marriage is legal in all of the states that JPus operates in. Only two states (Delaware and New Jersey) have banned it. Unchained at Last reports almost 250,000 children as young as 12 were married in the US between 2000 and 2010. Most of these were girls wed to adult men!

Confronted with the possibility of being asked to perform a child marriage, JPus members spoke out. They would not want to perform such a wedding, and would likely refuse to do so. As professional marriage officiants, our members comply with the laws of their state and our association’s Code of Ethics. These two would be in conflict. The officiant would be complicit, destroying the health, education and economic opportunities of girls if s/he performed a child marriage ceremony. Child marriage increases the risk that the girl is subjected to violence. Because children under the age of 18 are not allowed to access rape crisis centers or domestic violence shelters, she would have no recourse.

Propelled by our partnership with Unchained at Last, JPus has taken action and advocated for a minimum age of 18 to wed.

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