Approximately 248,000 children — some as young as 12 — were married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010, most of them were girls wed to adult men. Girls who marry are not only denied their childhood, they are often socially isolated, with limited opportunities for education and employment. UNICEF calls child marriage a harmful practice and a violation of child rights and believes that marriage under age 18 should be prohibited in all circumstances.
Yet there is no federal law regarding child marriage; rather, every state sets its own requirements. In fact, there is no minimum age for marriage in 18 states throughout the country. That is why UNICEF USA is a member of the National Coalition to End Child Marriage, working alongside other NGO partners to end marriage below the age of 18 within the U.S. and to repeal loopholes and exceptions that may promote the practice.
If you live in one of the below states, there is currently legislation that UNICEF USA is supporting to end this human rights abuse. Click on your state's name below to contact your state legislators and speak out today.
Together, we can make a difference in the lives of children everywhere.
- Massachusetts: Urge your State Representative and State Senator to cosponsor H.1478/S.24.
- Nevada: Call on your State Senator to end child marriage with zero exceptions by cosponsoring AB139.
- New Hampshire: Email your State Representative to cosponsor HB378.
- Pennsylvania: Contact your State Representative and State Senator to support HB360/SB81.