As we head into a brand new legislative session, I need to spotlight the affect of a bipartisan invoice handed in 2019. Sponsored by Assemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod (D-Las Vegas), AB139 was designed to eradicate marriage for minors. Earlier than 2019, Nevada had no flooring — that means there was no decrease age restrict to marry on this state. Any youngster (often a woman) may very well be married off as long as a mum or dad and a choose signed off on the association. There was proof that ladies as younger as 14 had been legally wed in Nevada — typically to an out-of-state, a lot older groom. If the bride was 16, all that was wanted was a mum or dad to log off on the union.

I testified in entrance of the Senate Judiciary Committee in favor of AB139 as a involved citizen enthusiastic about girls and ladies on this state, however the courageous testimony from these straight affected by childhood marriage will sit with me for a very long time. Women married off younger, typically by a mum or dad who failed within the duty of defending his or her youngsters. Ladies courageously detailing their escape from abusive marriages and the methods wherein our system failed to guard them from hurt within the first place. These ladies have been handled as mere commodities. Past these tales, there’s proof that underage marriages typically result in elevated home violence, decrease ranges of schooling and better poverty. In response to Pew Analysis, in 2016 Nevada ranked third for the speed of underage marriage, at 5.9 per 1,000.

AB139 handed in 2019 and have become regulation. Though it wasn’t a complete ban on underage marriage, it was pretty shut. Because it stands now, nobody underneath the age of 17 can get married on this state. If both celebration is 17, a mum or dad and a choose should agree that there’s a legit cause the union can’t wait — and being pregnant can’t be the rationale. Plus, each the bride and the groom have to be Nevada residents. In response to the Tahirih Justice Middle, from 2015-2017, 80 p.c of the underage marriages in Clark County concerned at the least one out-of-state celebration. AB139 ensured that Nevada wouldn’t be complicit in using marriage as a intercourse trafficking software for out-of-state predators. 

Because the regulation was carried out in October of 2019, there has solely been simply one underage marriage in your entire state of Nevada (as of October 2020). The bride was 17 and the groom was 19. Each have been residents of Carson Metropolis. As compared, the Tahirih Justice Middle acknowledged that over 5,000 minors have been married in simply Clark County between 2005-2015, a median of 500 a yr. To go from these numbers to just one statewide is a large achievement. 

In 2018, Nevada was reportedly the second worst state within the nation for home violence. Stopping underage marriage gained’t eradicate home violence, however it does shield ladies from being compelled right into a legally binding contract earlier than they attain maturity. And the extra that we shield the women on this state, the extra we shield the ladies they’ll turn out to be. As we head into one other legislative session, I hope all of our representatives proceed to search out methods to enhance the lives of girls.

Jeana Blackman Taylor (she/her) got here to Las Vegas greater than a decade in the past to carry out with Cirque du Soleil. In 2016, she shaped the group On a regular basis Individuals Taking Motion to facilitate conversations concerning key points dealing with Nevada and lift cash to help native lecturers. She serves on the Neighborhood Advisory Board for the Ladies’s Analysis Institute of Nevada (UNLV), the Bond Oversight Committee for CCSD, and the SOT at her youngsters’s elementary college. Over the summer season, she was a cofounder of the Vegas Neighborhood Pantry. She can also be a donor to The Nevada Unbiased. View all our donors right here.