Tucker Carlson’s company The Daily Caller, along with Politico and other news outlets, are reporting that Republican Governor Chris Christie vetoed a bill Thursday that would have made New Jersey the first state to outlaw marrying children under 18, citing the ban interfered with religious freedoms.
The bill reportedly aimed to prohibit any marriage of children under age 18.
Current state law requires a judge to approve marriages of children 15 and younger, while 16- and 17-year-olds can marry with parental consent.
Republican Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz sponsored the bill that would have ended child marriage but Christie rejected it, saying it conflicted with religious customs.
“An exclusion without exceptions would violate the cultures and traditions of some communities in New Jersey based on religious traditions,” Christie wrote in the veto message. “Judicial oversight would permit consideration of these factors in the 16 and 17-year-old timeframe.”
Flashback to 2011 when Christie ridiculed Sharia Law for being impressed upon the U.S.: “This Sharia law business is just crap … and I’m tired of dealing with the crazies.”
Philly.com reports that Christie declared he instead wants marriages involving children under the age of 16 to be banned, though he has suggested allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to marry with the oversight of a judge. Christie also stated about given state laws governing sex and abortion, “it is disingenuous to hold that a 16-year-old may never consent to marriage.
Activists report that underage marriage is widespread across the nation, with approximately 170,000 children married between 2000 and 2010 in 38 of the 50 states.
Unchained At Last, a non-profit group that seeks to help women in arranged and forced marriages, estimates there have been at least 3,600 marriages in New Jersey involving someone under the age of 18 between 1995 and 2015 and 166 of those involved children 15-years-old or younger.
“The shocking truth is that child marriage is legal right now in New Jersey, and it’s shocking that thousands of children have been married here recently, most of them minor girls married to adult men,” Fraidy Reiss, executive director of Unchained at Last, told Politico.
She added that if a girl being forced to marry is honest with a judge, “she’s going to face really serious repercussions” from her parents.
Reiss called Christie’s decision to veto the act “shameful” and objected to his proposal to ban marriage for children 15 and younger but not 16- and 17-year-olds, saying the “notion of separating the two groups as though somehow it’s less terrible” for the older teenagers. She argued that regardless of the age, whenever someone is forced into marriage, they face the same challenges if they ever tried to leave or seek the counsel of a lawyer.
From 1995 to 2015, more than 3,600 children New Jersey married, including 166 who were 15 or younger. The youngest was 13, according to state health records.
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