Children of Any Age Can be Married in Florida
Child marriage has been proven to lead to negative outcomes for children. Yet in Florida, a child of any age can be married utilizing the dangerous loopholes in Florida’s current law.
In the last five years, Florida has married off almost 2,000 children. Children are not marrying other children – almost 87% of child marriages have been to legal adults and 13 children just 10-14 years old were married in the state in the same time period.
Child Marriage Leads to Disastrous Outcomes
The marriage of children under the age of 18 has been linked to dangerous health risks, including increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, life-threatening childbirth complications, and mental illnesses. Poor educational and economic outcomes are also likely. Child marriage is associated with higher rates of dropping out of school and increased poverty. Married children are also extremely vulnerable to abuse and isolation: child marriage has been associated with increased rates of domestic violence and abandonment, and limits children’s autonomy and mobility to engage in critical social interaction and the development of support networks.
Bills Have Been Filed to Ban Child Marriage
Several bills have been filed this session to ban child marriage. If these bills complete the process, Florida will be the first state in the nation to outlaw the practice.
- Passing legislation to create a total ban on child marriage without exceptions: Interest groups have attempted to water down bills proposed in other states with arguments about freedom of religion, military benefits, getting children out of foster care and more. Yet the vast list of devastating negative outcomes for children far outweigh any arguments for exceptions.
- To follow 2017-18 legislation regarding this issue visit our Children’s Rights & Special Needs Legislative Center page for real time updates.
The Children’s Campaign Priority Bill Highlights
- Unchained at Last – Unchained at Last. Unchained At Last is the only nonprofit in the US dedicated to creating social, policy and legal change to end forced and child marriage in America.
- End Child Marriage in Florida – Human Rights Watch. Action oriented page with video and other state ban information.
- Understanding State Statutes on Minimum Marriage Age and Exceptions – Tahirih Justice Center. A resource for understanding state statutes on minimum marriage age in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
- Age of Marital Capacity: Reconsidering Civil Recognition of Adolescent Marriage – Vivian E. Hamilton, William & Mary Law School. Review of the context, history, change in society and cost associated with child marriage.
Disclaimer: These links to third-party websites are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only. They do not constitute an endorsement or approval by The Children’s Campaign or its affiliate organizations and partners.