State records showed six children younger than 15 were married, despite the age floor. Other states also are looking into child marriages in their jurisdictions.
And having nude pictures of a minor is technically possessing child porn.
While Benda does not have a criminal record in Minnesota, the charges still show up in public records. In a hotel room two years ago after prom, Samuel J.
Benda didn’t question his 17-year-old girlfriend when she took a naked picture of herself in the mirror on his cellphone. “I didn’t think.” Now, her former boyfriend is facing serious consequences.
Ninety percent of the underage marriages were to an adult spouse over the age of 18, and 30 percent to 40 percent of those adults were over 21 — sometimes decades older. Vogel’s bill, which passed the state Senate, would increase the marriage age to 18 but allow 16- and 17-year-olds to be married if they are emancipated. Edwards, Roanoke Democrat, said he could not support the bill because it stripped away parental rights.
In the current system, children 15 and younger can get married if they have parental consent and are pregnant. Vogel said that when young children get married, they are likely being coerced, citing “high, high” rates of violence, sexual assault and domestic abuse. Jeanne Smoot, senior counsel for policy and strategy at the Tahirih Justice Center, dismissed those objections, saying that parents oftentimes were coercing their children.“I think we need to have a system in place that doesn’t take either parental consent or the fact of pregnancy at face value, but looks to see if parental consent hides coercion or that the pregnancy is a fact that the girl was forced to have sex in the first place,” Ms. The House of Delegates is advancing its version of the legislation, where it too has met with questions.