Two votes. That’s all it took to stop the bill that would have ended child marriage in New Jersey.

 

Yes, child marriage is legal in this country. In fact, up until this month it was legal in in all 50 states. Delaware made history earlier this month by outlawing marriage for anyone under the age of 18. Sadly, New Jersey has failed to uphold basic human rights by following suit in its vote yesterday.  

 

The bill had overwhelming support with 43 sponsors in the Assembly and 16 in the State Senate, but two legislators, both men, were able cancel the vote – Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex) and Deputy Speaker Gary Schear (D-Passaic) citing religious concerns. But citing any kind of religious exemptions would render it useless for the children who are most in need of protection.

 

This bill has been before the N.J. legislature since 2016 and had passed both chambers before being vetoed by Chris Christie last year. He argued a ban on child marriage would violate “cultures and traditions.” Apparently, the preservation of sexist and harmful “cultures and traditions” took precedence over the basic human rights of the children of this state.

 

With a new governor, the bill was reintroduced but again it has been blocked by two male assemblymen with similar concerns for “cultures and traditions.”

 

Common sense, however, would dictate that if by law a child is too young to obtain a lawyer to seek a divorce then clearly the child is too young to be married.

 

Some in the legislature have not even relied on the religious argument to uphold the idea of the marriage of a child to a person who is often much older and would be liable for charges of statutory rape had statutory rape charges still been considered a crime under such conditions. Republican Senator Gerald Cardinale of Bergen County argued that as long as a 50-year-old and a 16-year-old have “genuine affection” for each other, they should be allowed to wed.

 

If you, like us, find these arguments to be reprehensible and, quite frankly, absurd, please join us today in taking action.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE BILL:  A865/S427

 

 

ACTION #1:  CALLING & EMAILING LEGISLATORS

Please join us in calling Speaker Coughlin & Deputy Speaker Schaer, as well as your own local legislators to demand that this vote be rescheduled immediately without any revisions to this vital bill.

Call/Email Script for Contacting Deputy Speaker Schaer:

Deputy Speaker Schaer, the cancellation of yesterday’s vote on the bill that would’ve ended child marriage in NJ (A865/S427) is shameful. This legislation to uphold basic human rights had majority support and for good reason, but your obstruction indicates you do not support ending child abuse. Our children deserve our protection. If a child is too young to legally obtain a lawyer to seek a divorce, then clearly the child is too young to be married. We cannot allow child marriage to continue in our state. Do the right thing and reschedule this vote immediately, with no amendments to this vital bill!

Phone: (973) 249-3665

Email: AsmSchaer@njleg.org

1 Howe Avenue

Suite 302

Passaic, NJ  07055

 

Call/Email Script for contacting Coughlin:

Speaker Coughlin, the cancellation of yesterday’s vote on the bill that would’ve ended child marriage in NJ (A865/S427) is shameful. This legislation to uphold basic human rights had majority support and for good reason, but your obstruction indicates you do not support ending child abuse. Our children deserve our protection. If a child is too young to legally obtain a lawyer to seek a divorce, then clearly the child is too young to be married. We cannot allow child marriage to continue in our state. Do the right thing and reschedule this vote immediately, with no amendments to this vital bill!

Phone: (732) 855-7441 x 12

Email: AsmCoughlin@njleg.org

569 Rahway Avenue

Woodbridge, NJ  07095

 

Call/Email Script for Contacting Your Other Legislators:

The cancellation of yesterday’s vote on the bill that would’ve ended child marriage in NJ (A865/S427) is shameful. This legislation to uphold basic human rights had majority support and for good reason, but Speaker Coughlin and Deputy Speaker Schaer’s  obstruction indicates they do not support ending child abuse. Our children deserve our protection. If a child is too young to legally obtain a lawyer to seek a divorce then clearly the child is too young to be married. We cannot allow child marriage to continue in our state.  Please do the right thing and advocate for rescheduling this vote immediately, with no amendments to this vital bill!

CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR NJ LEGISLATORS

 

 

ACTION #2:  @ YOUR LEGISLATORS

Sending letters, calling, and emailing have the most impact (and in that order) but please consider posting the following on legislators’ Facebook and Twitter pages as well…

 

To Deputy Speaker Shaer:

@GarySchaerNJ do the right thing & protect #NJ kids.  It’s way past time to #endchildmarriage. Post S427 without amendments & reschedule this vote immediately!

Post to:

HIS TWITTER FEED

HIS FACEBOOK PAGE

 

To Speaker Coughlin:

@SpeakerCoughlin (T) / @SpeakerCraigCoughin (FB) do the right thing & protect #NJ kids.  It’s way past time to #endchildmarriage. Post S427 without amendments & reschedule this vote immediately!

Post to:

HIS TWITTER FEED

HIS FACEBOOK PAGE

 

Other Posts, Tags, & Hashtags from Unchained at Last to Share/Re-tweet:

Unchained At Last is the only nonprofit in the US dedicated to helping women and girls leave or avoid arranged/forced marriages and rebuild their lives. Unchained also is the only nonprofit in the US dedicated to creating social, policy and legal change to end forced and child marriage in America.

https://twitter.com/kimwilliamsde/status/999817650896297985

https://twitter.com/UnchainedAtLast/status/999767538736205826

https://twitter.com/UnchainedAtLast/status/999745798928764930

https://www.facebook.com/UnchainedAtLast/posts/1946178878726467

 

@SpeakerCoughlin

@GarySchaerNJ

@njassemblydems

@njassemblygop

@UnchainedAtLast

#EndChildMarriage

 

For more information:
http://www.nj.com/…/effort_to_ban_child_marriage_in_nj_stal…
http://observer.com/…/new-jersey-assembly-shelves-vote-on-…/

 

 

Whichever action you choose to take, THANK YOU for standing up for NJ kids!

UPCOMING ACTION

To keep up with all upcoming online and local actions regarding this issue, please follow us and join our e-mailing list!

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