Pro Bono Library Items Archive
Maryland’s Senate Bill to End Child Marriage Will Not Protect Minors
This year, yet again, Maryland senators have weakened a bill that seeks to end child marriage. Presented with a strong bill rooted in years of bi-partisan compromise, the amended version the Senate passed on Monday does almost nothing to protect children from abuse and exploitation under the guise of marriage. It maintains some of the most dangerous exceptions, including pregnancy and parental consent, and keeps Maryland in a position of being a regional destination for child marriage.
This amended bill has no resemblance to the initial bill the Tahirih Justice Center helped draft. While states like Texas, Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia, and Virginia have all passed similar reforms which have been working effectively. Meanwhile, other states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Rhode Island, New York and Minnesota have passed bright line 18 bills. It is frustrating that the Maryland Senate can’t seem to accept that it is just good public policy to do all we can to protect children from the harms of child marriage.
Nonetheless, we are hopeful the House will pass the bill out as written, as they have every year since we began this campaign in 2016. When it crosses over, we hope the Senate takes the opportunity to finally prioritize the protection of children and bring Maryland out of the dark ages when it comes to child marriage.
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Tahirih Comments on Separation of Families
Tahirih filed a comment with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on ways to minimize the separation of families who enter the United States. The comment notes that family separation amounts to torture and recommends that the administration abandon the misuse of Title 42, the Migrant Protection Protocols, and detention and deportation to separate families
Analysis of Minimum Marriage Age Laws and Age-Based Sex Offenses in the U.S.
This first-of-its-kind policy memo (2020) analyzes state minimum marriage age laws to determine where marriage can allow for statutory defense to or exception from prosecution for statutory rape and/or other age-based sex offenses in at least 40 states and the District of Columbia.
Summary of Marriage Age Reforms Achieved across the U.S.
Since 2016, 27 U.S. states have enacted legislative reforms to end or limited child marriage and this summary offers a concise look at the impacts of these reforms. Variations in minimum age of marriage, legal emancipation requirements, judicial responsibilities, and allowable age differences between spouses, among other legal limitations, are highlighted to give a complete view of what incremental progress has looked like in those states that have not yet set a bright line age of marriage at 18 without exceptions. This document compliments the Map of Legislative Reforms to give more detailed information on current marriage laws in those 27 states that have initiated reforms.
50 State Map of Legislative Reforms to Limit or End Child Marriage Since 2016
In the U.S., each state has the power to set its own laws on when and how individuals may marry. Thanks to the advocacy of survivors and organizations with leadership from Tahirih, 27 states have passed reforms that seek to limit or end child marriage.
As of August 2021, 23 states and Washington D.C. have yet to pass reforms to their marriage age laws at. This map provides a visual overview of the status of legislative reforms to limit or end child marriage across the U.S. States are color-coded based on what reforms have or have not been passed, showing the movement’s victories as well as the work that remains. This map is a visual compliment to the information found in the Summary of Marriage Age Reforms across the U.S.
Tahirih Comments on Public Charge Rule for Immigrant Survivors of Violence
Tahirih, along with the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence and other partner organizations, filed comments with the Department of State (DOS) concerning the public charge ground of inadmissibility. The comment urges DOS to enact a public charge rule that addresses the needs of survivors of domestic and other gender-based violence.
2020 Audited Financial Statements
Read our 2020 audited financial statements.