After opposition from conservative Christians, Republicans kill bill banning child marriage in Kentucky.
According to reports, a bill to outlaw child marriage in Kentucky has been indefinitely delayed after opposition from the conservative Family Foundation of Kentucky, a powerful lobbying group backed by conservative Christians in the state.
The Courier-Journal reports Senate Bill 48, Known as the “child bride” bill, has been stalled in committee after the conservative Christian group expressed “concerns about the rights of parents to allow children to wed at a younger age.”
Raw Story explains the legislation:
The modest bill would not totally ban child marriages, but would require a judge to review records to make sure that the child was not the victim of abuse, that there are not domestic violence incident involving either party and that the adult is not a registered sex-offender. The bill would require that the judge deny the right to marry if there was a pregnancy that resulted from the adult spouse molesting the child.
However, this “modest bill” protecting children from being forced into marriage by their parents, is perceived as a threat by conservative Christian lawmakers in Kentucky.
Representatives of the the Family Foundation of Kentucky argue that the bill banning child marriage “diminishes parental rights,” claiming:
It takes away parental rights, in terms of parental consent, and gives it to the court. So we have a big concern about that.
State Senator John Schickel tried to explain his opposition to the ban on child marriage:
I had some problems with the bill. Decisions involving a minor child should be made by a parent, not the court.
In other words, for many conservative Christians, children are the property of parents, and do not deserve the protection of the courts.
State Senator Julie Raque Adams, sponsor of the “child bride” bill, expressed deep disappointment that her bill was being killed by the conservative Christian lobby:
SO disappointed! My SB 48 (outlaw child marriage) won’t be called for a vote. It is disgusting that lobbying organizations would embrace kids marrying adults. We see evidence of parents who are addicted, abusive, neglectful pushing their children into predatory arms. Appalling.
— Julie Raque Adams (@jrajra) March 1, 2018
(SO disappointed! My SB 48 (outlaw child marriage) won’t be called for a vote. It is disgusting that lobbying organizations would embrace kids marrying adults. We see evidence of parents who are addicted, abusive, neglectful pushing their children into predatory arms. Appalling.)
Eileen Recktenwald, the executive director of the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs, condemned the action to block the ban on child marriage, declaring:
This is legalized rape of children. We cannot allow that to continue in Kentucky, and I cannot believe we are even debating this is the year 2018 in the United States.
Bottom line: Kentucky Republicans, facing pressure from a powerful conservative Christian lobby, refuses to protect children as young as 13 from being forced into marriage. And they call it “Christian love.”