National--Victims group blasts child marriage
For immediate release: Wednesday, Oct. 14
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP outreach director (314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)
Thousands of kids in the US are getting married, often to adults and with court approval, according to alarming statistics in today’s New York Times. This must stop.
Lawmakers should quickly forbid such unions. And judges should immediately stop approving such unions.
A moratorium on this controversial and unhealthy practice is the most prudent first step in ensuring the rights and safety of children.
How can we claim that a girl too young to drive a car or a boy too young to vote can make a lifelong, binding legal pledge? That’s absurd and abusive.
We must be sensitive to beliefs that are different from our own. But we must not let adults endanger or victimize children because of their beliefs, whether religious or cultural. We have a duty to boys and girls to clearly distinguish between belief and behavior. The former we tolerate. The latter we sometimes tolerate. But not when it brings hurts individuals who are too young to make choices of this magnitude.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)