Child Marriage Prohibition

shared on 02/19/2024

California’s marriage age is 18 but the law includes alarming loopholes: A parent may “consent” to marry off a child of any age with judicial approval, and the court may enter a child of any age into marriage if the child does not have a parent capable of “consenting” to the marriage.

These loopholes disempower and seriously endanger minors, even with supposed safeguards the legislature added in 2018.

  • More than 8,000 California children are entered into marriage every year, and the annual number has been increasing in recent years. As of 2021, more than 14,000 minors living in California already had been married.
  • 100% of these marriages would have been considered a sex crime outside of marriage.

Please refer to this PDF for more references.

Clubmember Mandy Havlik presented a powerful account of her experiences as a child bride and encouraged us to join her and other organizations in enacting legislation to prohibit child marriages.

You can watch her presentation on YouTube — October 2023 Meeting — Surviving Child Marriage
along with:

Call to Action

Write to your legislators here

Please ask your representiatives to support AB2924 introduced on 2/25/2024 by Assembly Member Petrie-Norris — and send thanks to Assemblymember Chris Ward and Senator Catherine Blakespear for being co-authors.

Zonta USA, UNICEF USA and Unchained at Last