Kentucky Republicans just made it easier for parents to marry off their underage children

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Just when you think the Republican Party can sink no lower, just when you assume the party that supported a child molester for Senate in Alabama and elected an admitted sexual predator to the White House they discover a whole new, hitherto unimagined, degree of depravity.

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The Courier-Journal reports that Republicans in the Kentucky Senate have voted down a measure to raise the minimum age for marriage to eighteen. The GOP decided it was more important to ensure parents can easily marry off their children than it was to prevent child marriages.

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The bill the Republicans rejected was called the “Child Bride Bill,” which perfectly puts into perspective how vile the opposition to it was. Supporters of the blocked legislation said that most underage marriages involved an older man and a teenage girl who most likely has been sexually exploited. It’s sadly not surprising that the party of Trump — a man accused of raping a 13-year-old girl — would support such a despicable move.

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“This is legalized rape of children. We cannot allow that to continue in Kentucky, and I cannot believe we are even debating this is the year 2018 in the United States,” said Eileen Recktenwald, Executive Director of the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs.

The lobbyists who worked to prevent the reasonable and morally imperative bill are  conservatives who see the issue as part of the larger cultural war. That is to say, once again the relgious right has proven that unless they’re stopped they will reduce this country to a regressive, morally vacant hellscape modeled after the worst elements of ancient religious texts.

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The Courier-Journal added that Kentucky has the third most child marriages in the country, behind Texas and Florida. Under current statutes, teenagers can marry as young as sixteen with parental permission and can marry even younger if they’re pregnant and a judge signs off on the union.

The Child Bride Bill would have set eighteen as the legal age for marriage, with a provision that seventeen-year-olds ca parry if a judge signed off on it, so long as the age difference between the couple is four years or less.

Some Republicans drew issue with the seventeen-year-old aspect, but for all the wrong reasons. One said that judges shouldn’t have a say in the matter and that it should be left up entirely to the parents. It’s a gross dereliction of duty, and a gift-wrapped present to sexual predators across the state. These lawmakers should be ashamed.

Robert Haffey

Robert Haffey is a political writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.

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