It might sound unbelievable in today’s age and time, and especially so for a country like the US, but child marriages do take place in the state of Virginia.
However, the scenario should change now as the authorities have recently made changes to the existing law that sanctioned such marriages. According to a report by Independent, a girl can now only get married if she is 18 years or more. However, she could get married at the age of 16 too if “emancipated” by a court order.
There are several instances in Virginia where girls aged 12 or 13 years have entered into wedlock, either with the consent of their parents or because they were in the family way. The report says that the number of children getting married under the age of 18 had crossed 4,000 between 2004 and 2013, and more than 200 of them were below 15 years.
Several activists had launched a battle against child marriage in Virginia and it is hoped that the new legislation should end forced marriages, human trafficking and statutory rape camouflaged as marriage.
According to the report, estimates put forward by the World Policy Center claim that 88 percent of nations around the globe have a legal mandate that prohibits marriage below 18 years.
Marriage laws differ from state to state in the US and according to the report there are as many as six states where girls below 16 years can legally say “I do” provided they get a go-ahead from their parents.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, more than 700 million women around the globe were married before 18 years, including some 250 million who wedded before they turned 15.