Underage Marriage Prevalence in Massachusetts:
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 1,516 minors aged 15 to 17 in Massachusetts are currently trapped in child marriages as of 2018, a startling 6 children per thousand. But, because Massachusetts allows minors of any age to be married, 1,516 is actually a significant underestimate of this widespread abuse. Read about America’s shameful child marriage statistics to learn more about this nationwide crisis.
The Statutes Which Enable Child Marriage in Massachusetts:
Massachusetts does not set a lowest possible marital age. As a result, children of any age can be, and are, frequently forced into marriages. A minor can be married with the consent of just one parent or guardian, and although judicial approval is required, the restrictions on underage marriage don’t go far enough. This practice destroys the lives of countless young girls across the United States. Check out our State Statute Database to see the laws in your state.
We’re Making Progress to Reform Massachusetts' Underage Marriage Laws:
Although a bill to completely eliminate underage marriage in Massachusetts was introduced by State Senators Harriette Chandler and Kay Khan in 2017, the bill died and has been reintroduced this legislative session. The measure passed the Senate unanimously in July, 2019, and is now awaiting passage in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Once the two bills are reconciled and signed into law, Massachusetts will become the fifth state to completely ban child marriage. Read more about the progress that we’re making and nationwide reform efforts.
Take Action Against Child Marriage in Massachusetts:
We are currently in conversation with lawmakers to determine what actions you can take to ensure lifesaving child marriage reform is passed in Massachusetts. Sign up for our Massachusetts Action List to be notified immediately once we have actions available.