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UPDATE: Thank you for taking action! This bill has been signed into law and becomes effective July 1, 2016!

Over the last several weeks, we’ve shared with you the alarming child marriage statistics we’ve exposed in Virginia. Thousands of children under age 18 were married over the last decade, 90% of them were girls, and 90% of the time they were married to adults. Often those adults were much older, sometimes even decades older.

The problem was hidden in plain sight, but no one had been on the lookout for it, or on guard to ensure girls’ protection. Until now.

We’re thrilled to update you that our bill to end child marriage in Virginia is making progress and picking up steam!

At legislative hearings in Richmond over the past two weeks, Tahirih and the bill’s bipartisan lead co-patrons, Senator Jill Vogel (R) and Delegate Jennifer McClellan (D), along with other supportive witnesses, spoke passionately to the urgent need to raise Virginia’s minimum marriage age.

Legislators got the message. Last week after making amendments to enable some older teens to marry if there is no evidence of abuse or coercion, the bill was favorably reported out of the Senate committee (by a vote of 13-2) and House subcommittee (by a vote of 6-2).

Next stop — the bill is headed to the Senate floor for a vote today, and to the House Courts of Justice Committee for a vote as early as Wednesday.

Please help us get past this next critical hurdle! This is crunch time, when the bill could either slow and stumble, or instead be just steps away from becoming law.

We’re asking you to give us 5-for-5-by-5!

5 minutes 5 calls graphic V2 600

Take five minutes before 5 p.m. today to call or email 5 members of Virginia’s House Courts of Justice Committee. Urge them to protect children by supporting House Bill 703 (read the full bill here). Your calls and emails could make a huge difference!

We included a list of committee members who need to hear from you, along with a sample message, below.

Thank you so much for standing up for the safety and well-being of vulnerable children and teens in Virginia!

Jeanne Smoot
Senior Counsel for Policy and Strategy

Note: An administrative assistant will likely answer and simply log the fact of your support, or at most transfer you to a legislative assistant to whom you can deliver the message below.

Hi,

My name is _________. I am calling/writing to urge Delegate to SUPPORT House Bill 703. This bill will:

  • prevent children from being forced or coerced into marriage
  • reduce children’s vulnerability to abuse, exploitation, and other serious and lifelong harm
  • protect and empower children by requiring judges to ask critical, safety-centered questions when a 16- or 17-year-old applies for a marriage license, and emancipate those minors if they are approved to marry
  • ban marriages of children under age 16

Current law is failing to protect children in Virginia from harm. Please urge Delegate _________ to vote YES on this bill and end child marriage in VA! Thank you.


Delegate’s Name | District | Party | Phone | Email

David Albo (Chair) | 42nd | R | 804-698-1042 | DelDAlbo@house.virginia.gov

Robert Bell (Vice-Chair) | 58th | R | 804-698-1058 | DelRBell@house.virginia.gov

Terry Kilgore | 1st | R | 804-698-1001 | DelTKilgore@house.virginia.gov

Benjamin Cline | 24th | R | 804-698-1024 | DelBCline@house.virginia.gov

Todd Gilbert | 15th | R | 804-698-1015 | DelTGilbert@house.virginia.gov

Jackson Miller | 50th | R | 804-698-1050 | DelJMiller@house.virginia.gov

Richard Morris | 64th | R | 804-698-1064 | DelRMorris@house.virginia.gov

Jay Leftwich | 78th | R | 804-698-1078 | DelJLeftwich@house.virginia.gov

Les Adams| 16th | R | 804-698-1016 | DelLAdams@house.virginia.gov

Jeffrey Campbell | 6th | R | 804-698-1006 | DelJCampbell@house.virginia.gov

Christopher Collins | 29th | R | 804-698-1029 | DelCCollins@house.virginia.gov

Vivian Watts | 39th | D | 804-698-1039 | DelVWatts@house.virginia.gov

David Toscano | 57th | D | 804-698-1057 | DelDToscano@house.virginia.gov

Charniele Herring | 46th | D | 804-698-1046 | DelCHerring@house.virginia.gov

Patrick Hope | 47th | D | 804-698-1047 | DelPHope@house.virginia.gov

Monty Mason | 93rd | D | 804-698-1093 | DelMMason@house.virginia.gov

Do Something!

Please take five minutes before 5 p.m. today to call or email 5 members of Virginia's House Courts of Justice Committee. Urge them to protect children by supporting House Bill 703. Your calls and emails could make a huge difference!

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