Massachusetts state laws regarding marriage

Almost all of them were girls marrying adult men. The current law sets the minimum marriage age at 18, but allows children to marry with permission from a judge and parental consent. When those conditions are met, there is no statutory age limit. Many of these experts had direct knowledge of how child marriage in Massachusetts puts children at risk and can trap them in dangerous situations.

Research has shown that marriage before age 18 is deeply harmful. It puts girls — who are far more likely to be subjected to child marriage than boys — at risk of harm to their health, curtailed education, poverty, and domestic violence.

Massachusetts 1913 law

Help us put an end to this! Massachusetts lawmakers are now taking action to end child marriage. The first hearing of the Senate Bill S. Massachusetts lawmakers should make the bills a priority and send them forward quickly for a vote, Human Rights Watch said.

Everything You Need to Know About Getting Married in Massachusetts

Human Rights Watch is working with a coalition of about 40 organizations and individuals to end child marriage under Massachusetts law. Other states are ending child marriage. In both states, the bills had bipartisan support.

Similar bills to ban child marriage, without exceptions, have been introduced in other states. Human Rights Watch has carried out research for more than a decade on child marriage in countries around the world. Skip to main content. Help us continue to fight human rights abuses.

General Law - Part II, Title III, Chapter , Section 14

Please give now to support our work. March 25, Video. A clerk or registrar would be required to see proof of age before issuing a marriage certificate. Today, teenagers under 18 can get married in Massachusetts if they receive approval from a parent and a judge. According to data from the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics, 1, youth under 18 were married in Massachusetts between the years and Most of the girls were 16 and 17, but 57 of them were under age 16, which means under state law, they were not even old enough to consent to sex.


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The youngest was In a speech on the Senate floor, Chandler referred to a woman named Tammy Monteiro who testified before a legislative committee earlier this year. Monteiro said she was 16 when a judge allowed her to marry a year-old man.


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Her mother let her leave high school, and she endured years of abuse and had multiple children before she escaped. Tammy Monteiro delivered an impassioned speech Wednesday morning calling for Massachusetts to become the third state that bans child marriage. The legal age of marriage is 18, but loopholes allow judges to authorize minors to marry with parental consent. International statistics show that teenage girls who get married are at high risk of domestic violence. Young mothers have high rates of complications and death from childbirth.

Even within the U. Other studies have shown that women who marry as teenagers are more likely to get divorced, to drop out of school, to have psychiatric and physical health problems and to have more children at a younger age. Supporters of the bill say minors who are married also have fewer resources available to them to escape an abusive relationship.

For example, they cannot rent a home, open a checking account, enter an adult domestic violence shelter or file for divorce by themselves.

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A child who is married is no longer eligible for state services from the Department of Children and Families. Reiss said it is not just a question of whether a year-old is mature enough to make a decision.

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Bill would end child marriage in Massachusetts photos, video. In Massachusetts, nearly 1, people under the age of 18, mostly girls, got married between and Massachusetts Child Advocate Maria Mossaides, a state government appointee tasked with protecting children, supports the bill.

Both Chandler and Reiss said current law requiring parental and judicial approval is not an adequate safeguard. Often, they say, parents are the ones forcing children into marriage, for reasons of religion, custom, pregnancy or money.