It Is 2017 And 13-Year-Old Girls Allowed To Get Married In America

It Is 2017 And 13-Year-Old Girls Allowed To Get Married In America

Mohamad Mostafa Nassar


New Hampshire House voted to kill and “indefinitely postpone” bill that would raise state marriage age from 13 to 18 years.

The minimum age to marry in New Hampshire, America is still 13. Last night lawmakers shot down a bill that would increase it to 18 years.

Republican Politicians also voted to indefinitely postpone the bill, meaning any attempt to bring it back up can’t happen for another 2 years.

The Law states that minors can only marry with the consent of a judge.

Concord Monitor reports:

“It’s not often middle-schoolers get married in New Hampshire. But it’s still perfectly legal, after the Republican-led House killed a bill Thursday to raise the marriage age to 18.

The rejection leaves intact a state law that lets girls get married as young as age 13 with parental consent and sign-off from a judge. Boys a year older can marry with the same approvals.

Between 1995 and 2012, 323 girls and 46 boys under age 18 have been married, according to the state’s vital statistics.

The number of married minors has declined steadily since 1995, a year when 47 teens were wed.

It’s more common for 16- and 17-year-olds to be married in the state than 14- and 15-year-olds. Since 1995, 14 girls under age 16 were married; no boys under 16 were married during the same time frame.

Though the bill had unanimous backing from the House child law committee, it was toppled after a last-minute push from a handful of Republican representatives.

They argued the age increase would block young soldiers from getting married and providing military benefits to their partners or children. Others said the change could lead to more single-parent households.

“If we pass this, we will ensure forever that every child born to a minor will be born out of wedlock,” said Republican Rep. David Bates, of Windham.

The House voted 179-168 to indefinitely postpone the bill, meaning it effectively can’t come up for the next two years.”

Read the entire article here…

This is not something new. These type of marriages have continued in many states and other Western countries.

In 1972, a case was brought in Pinellas County, it was said that Sherry Johnson, of Tallahassee, had relations at the age of 10. As a result of this she got impregnated by the perpetrator. Sherry Johnson’s mom gave approval for her daughter to “marry the 20-year-old” man. The law did not prohibit the couple from getting married, even though he was a lot older. [1]

Away from the 1970s, between 2000 and 2010 over 240 thousand children were married off in America. The youngest girl married was 12-years-old. The vast majority of the time the men were a lot older than the girls. Despite this, such marriages continue to this very day in many Christian, Jewish and even secular communities. [2] [3]

With parental consent a 12 to 14-year-old can be married in some states in America:

“A handful of other states sanction extremely early marriages with parental consent: In Alabama, South Carolina and Utah, girls can marry at 14; in New Hampshire it’s 13; in Massachusetts and Kansas, 12.”(“Early marriage survives in the U.S.”, last acessed 27th february 2017, online source,

Here is New Hampshire’s Law:

“The state of New Hampshire requires males as young as 14 and females as young as 13 to obtain parental consent before a marriage license will be granted. The statute does not provide specific exceptions.

But allows the judge to grant marriage license requests if he or she believes it is in the couple’s best interests.” (“New Hampshire Marriage Age Requirements Laws” (Last accessed 19th February 2017), online source, )

The age gap between couples are very wide. A 40-year-old in 2006, married a 17-year-old girl. In 2008, a 29-year-old man married a 16-year-old girl:

“The oldest groom was 40 years old, state records show. He married a 17-year-old girl in 2006. The oldest bride was 29 years old when she married a 16-year-old boy in Manchester in 2008.”

As recently as 2014, in Spain a girl of 14 years-old could get married by Law. They lifted the age from 14 to 16 years of age as pressure was mounted on the government. [4]

In Europe for example, there are some countries that allow for marriage to take place at 15 and below:

Andorra, 14 with judicial authority.

Estonia, 15 with court permission.

Lithuania, 15 with court permission, minors can only marry below 15 if they are pregnant females with court permission.

Slovenia, 15 with parental consent.

These type of marriages have been very common among Christian and Judaic communities for 1000s of years, even to this very day.

Among the ancient cultures and societies it was custom when a girl hits puberty she was transitioned into adulthood. This was the stage where girls who hit puberty were deemed to be a woman, and a time for them to be married off.

The Bible for example gives us many instances where Prophets married very young girls, for today it may shock some readers, but these type of marriages were very common.

Prophet Jacob’s daughter, Dinah was given away in marriage when she was below the age of 9-years-old to Shechem. The marriage didn’t last long as Dinah’s brothers murdered members of Shechem’s family due to Shechem’s act before the marriage: “Bible: How Old Was Dinah When She Was Married To Shechem?” 

There is also the case where King David in his old age wasn’t getting warm in his bed. His nurses (doctors) proposed to bring a young girl to warm him up. To bring him back to his youthful strength. This is while King David was 70-years-old, the girl Abishag was no older than 12-years-old when she was married off to him: “King David’s Marriage To 12 Year Old Abishag – Bible“. Another two piece articles have been written about this incident, please see here, and here.

The most common marriage that is widely known among scholars is that of Isaac and Rebecca. Some very early scholars have pointed out that she was no older than 3-years-old when she was married off to Isaac. However, this number is not in accord with the Biblical text. We wrote a very detailed article on this showing that Rebecca was anything below the age of 9, but not three. The Biblical text support the evidence provided that Isaac was 40-years-old when he married 8-year-old Rebecca: “The Age Of Rebecca When She Married Isaac – Biblical Perspective“: 

Here is another piece on Rebecca and Isaac’s marriage: 

Was Rebekah 3-10 Years Old When Married Off To Isaac?

The apocryphal writings report that Mary was 12-years-old when she was given away in marriage to 80-year-old (other reports say 90-year-old) Joseph the carpenter. Some modern Christians uncomfortable about this account have dismissed it. Mary being married off at 12-years-old is not just reported in apocryphal writings, this is well attested also by some of the earliest Church fathers:

“Mary the wife of Joseph The carpenter”: 

There is also the case with Moses and his men marrying prepubescent girls, this is related in the Biblical verse, Numbers 31:18: 

These type of marriages were very common in the past, just as it is today in Western countries. Just over 100 years ago, the age of consent in America and Europe was 10, and in the State of Delaware it was as low as 7: “Age of Consent in European and American History“

The New York Times, in 1895 mentions the age of consent laws in a publication:

The Age Of Consent Laws In America, 1800s“: 

These type of marriages continue in orthodox Jewish families in Israel:

“Another story of child-brides emerged several years ago in Israel’s north. Rabbi Shlomo Eliezer Schick of the Bratslav Hassidic movement in Yavne’el in the Galilee was arrested “for officiating the marriages of some 20 underage couples, mostly ages 12 to 16,” according to Ha’aretz. … In 1995, another case of a man betrothing his underage daughter — in that case, it was a girl under the age of 12 — made the headlines in Monsey.” [5]

In 2011, a 13-year-old was married off by Haredi Parents because of  ‘Penance‘ for Flirtations:

“A 13-year-old girl from the ultra-Orthodox town of Modi’in Ilit was married to a 16-year-old this week, after religious activists in the town told the girls’ parents it would be penance for her romantic involvement with the boy.” [6]

Not long ago before the above incident, “Rabbi Shlomo Eliezer Schick, the spiritual leader of the Bratslav Hassidic movement in Yavne’el, near Lake Kinneret, is suspected of officiating the marriages of some 20 underage couples, mostly ages 12 to 16. Tiberias police began investigating the case some two and a half years ago, following complaints from the secular residents of the community.”

In India, Hindu villagers attacked Police for intervening in child marriages taking place:

“At least six police and administration officials were injured when they were attacked by a group of villagers who was conducting child marriages in Rajasthan’s Jhalawardistrict, police said in India. The villagers even attacked a police outpost later. Police arrested 15 villagers on April 21 and lodged first information reports (FIR) against 50 others.

The incident took place on the evening of April 20 inGhatoli area of the district. “We were on high alert in the wake of Akshaya Tritiya (Akha Teej) that is to be observed April 24,” a police official said.

Akshaya Tritiya or Akha Teej is considered one of the most auspicious days of the year for Hindu and Jain communities. Acting on a tip-off that about 30 minors were being illegally married in a group wedding ceremony at Prithavipura village, a team of district and police officials was rushed to the spot.

The officers asked the villagers to show the birth certificates of the grooms and brides. But when they refused, the team asked the villagers to stop the weddings.

“Enraged villagers then started pelting stones at the officers following which six of them were injured,” said the official.” [7]

In the predominant Hindu, and Buddhist religions in Nepal, child marriages are rife. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW) thirty-seven percent (37) of girls in Nepal marry before age 18 and 10 percent are married before the age 15:

“Many of the marriages we heard about were arranged—and, often, forced—by girls’ parents, or other family members. In some areas of the country, families marry girls at ages as young as one and half years old. We heard some children describe their unions as “love marriages.” In Nepal, the term love marriage is commonly used to refer to a marriage not arranged by the bride and groom’s families.

Usually it refers to a situation where the two spouses have decided themselves to get married, sometimes over the opposition of one or both of their families. Although different from arranged marriages, love marriages among children are often triggered by the same social and economic factors.”

In India, nearly 200 thousand Christian children were married before the age of 10 years in India, reveals an Islam Compass analysis not long ago released, census data from Government Of India – Ministry Of Home Affairs.

In other religious groups in India, Over sixty-one (61296) thousand Sikhs girls less than of age were married off . Over sixty-three thousand (63379) Buddhists girls less than 10 years of age married off. Jainism: Girls less than 10 years of age married off: 27176 (Over twenty-seven thousand). [8]

(1) – “N.H. House kills bill that would raise minimum marriage age to 18” (* *)

(2) – “Bride, 13, was divorced in 4 months,” New Hampshire (*)

(3) – “11 Years Old, a Mom, and Pushed to Marry Her Rapist in Florida” (* *)


[1] “Law would ban marriage in Florida before age 16” Last accessed 27th February 2017,
[2] “Why can 12-year-olds still get married in the United States?” Last accessed 27th February 2017,
[3] “The Rate Of Child Marriages In America Is Alarming”, last acessed 27th February 2017,” rel=”nofollow”>
[4] “Spain raises age of consent from 13 to 16”, last accessed 27th February 2017,
[5] “Jewish Child Brides — Why the Barbaric Practice of Marrying Off Young Girls Persists” (
[6] “Haredi Parents Marry Off 13-year-old Daughter as ‘Penance’ for Flirtations”
[7] “India: Villagers attack police who prevented child marriages”
[8] “200 Thousand Christian Children Were Married Before 10 In India”