Underage Marriage in North Carolina

Your help is needed now to protect young people from underage marriage in North Carolina. There is a bill under consideration during the current session. We need to act now.

Senate Bill 35 and House Bill 41 would change the statute making marriage as early as 14 years old no longer legal.  The bills are under consideration now. Amendments are being made and approved that leave the marriage age at 14 if the parties are no more than four years apart. This will not meet the need.

Contact your Senator and Representative and ask them to change the law to make the legal age to marry 18. It’s simple to use this link to find contact information

https://www.ncleg.gov/FindYourLegislators

 

Write, email or call: Possible text for letter/note to elected officials:

 

Dear Senator or Representative (insert name)

North Carolina has an opportunity to improve the lives of young people, especially girls, by updating the law to make the minimum legal age to marry 18. Most states have already done so and sadly this means NC is becoming a destination for underage marriage.

Please support Senate Bill 35, (or House Bill 41) in a version that does not allow marriage before the age of 18.

There are a number of negative consequences for girls, or boys for that matter, that marry while minors. The brain of adolescents is not mature and prepared to deal with the emotional and legal complications of marriage. Their ability to gain financial independence and become educated and self-reliant is diminished.

As we learn from the past and plan for the future, it is time to leave antiquated practices such as child marriage behind and make changes for the improved well-being of our young people.

Yours sincerely,

<Your name>

< member, My Town Woman’s Club>

< my address

There are many reasons that 14 year olds should not marry. Some of the most compelling are:

  • underage marriages due to pregnancy occur under emotional, financial, and physical stress at best and duress at worst;
  • science tells us that our brains are not fully developed until our early twenties, which carries implications for our decision-making and emotional processing;
  • young girls often enter into these relationships without an accurate understanding power dynamics and strategies available (or not available) to them to protect themselves; and
  • girls who marry early are more likely to remain financially dependent on others as a consequence of diminished educational and aspirational goals;

 

Underage Marriage in North Carolina

What you can do to protect girls in North Carolina

  • read and find out more
  • identify your legislators
  • Call, write or email your Senator and Representative
  • Share information with friends, Club women and others
  • Stay informed

 

Possible text for letter/note to elected officials:

 

Dear Senator or Representative (insert name)

North Carolina has a great opportunity to improve the lives of young people, especially girls, by updating the law to make the minimum legal age to marry 18. Most states have already done so and sadly this means NC is becoming a destination for underage marriage.

Please support Senate Bill 35, (or House Bill 41) in a version that does not allow marriage before the age of 18.

There are a number of negative consequences for girls, or boys for that matter, that marry while minors. The brain of adolescents is not mature and prepared to deal with the emotional and legal complications of marriage. Their ability to gain financial independence and become educated and self-reliant is diminished.

As we learn from the past and plan for the future, it is time to leave antiquated practices such as child marriage behind and make changes for the improved well-being of our young people.

 

Yours sincerely,

<Your name>

< member, My Town Woman’s Club>

< my address>

 

  • Email is great because it arrives immediately.
  • A letter writing party would be fun.
  • Organize a “phone tree” in your club to spread the word
  • Follow up with a call asking the Senator or representative, “how do you plan to vote? ”
  • Look for stories in the news and share

 

Check back here for updates.

 

Cheers,

Beth Lane

Legislative and Public Policy Chair

919-345-0658

[email protected]

 

 

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