Child brides, as young as 12 years old are legally allowed in several US states, including Massachusetts.
In Virginia, 12 or 13-year-old girls are allowed to be married if they are pregnant. In New York, records show that 3,853 minors (under the age of 18) were married between 2000 and 2010.
Worldwide, the U.S. has one of the lowest ages of consent for marriage. Only Saudi Arabia and Yemen are lower, where girls as young as nine can be legally married.
The Washington Post notes that most of these underage marriages occur due to a pregnancy and often require not only the consent of parents but sometimes a judge.
Advocates for early marriage point out that there is nothing magical at the age of 18 as the bar for “informed” consent. Clearly, some 15 years old’s are more mature than some 20-year-olds.
However, to many the concept of a girl as young as 12 marrying someone 40 or 50 years, her senior seems twisted.