Trivia buffs know that singer Jerry Lee Lewis’s career was nearly destroyed when the public learned that his third wife was his 13-year-old cousin. Our ears prick up when there’s a scandalous news report of a high school teacher eloping with a freshman he has been grooming.
But most of us don’t spend that much time pondering legal age limits for marriage.
Well, I had my eyes opened by an NBC News story about efforts to close loopholes in marriage laws, especially where violence against immigrant women and girls is involved.
Currently, the majority of states allow 16- and 17-year-old youngsters to marry (with some modicum of approval from a parent or judge), and 17 states have absolutely no minimum age at all. Many state legislators are shocked to learn their own laws.
I don’t mean to trivialize a serious issue, but the current situation just begs for lampooning.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but maybe you don’t need to be making lifelong commitments if you’re still forgetting to feed your goldfish while deliberating which Teen Heartthrob of the Week poster to hang.
Maybe you shouldn’t aspire to forming little hands and feet if your own brain is still a decade away from being fully formed. (“This book ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ makes a wicked awesome drink coaster, y’all!”)
Come on — when you ask a bride-to-be, “Where are you registered?” the answer should be something like “Target, Macy’s and Home Depot,” not “Maple Street Preschool, if I prove I can tie my shoelaces.”
Some child brides marry classmates, but a large percentage of them are winding up with much, much older men. Wedding vows should not involve the groom saying, “I pledge you my heart. And remember, I have dibs on your kidneys and lungs.”
I know some impressionable girls think it’s romantic to be “soulmates” with these guys, but if the soul of one of you has a 30-year head start on jumping out of its mortal shell...
I understand there are sometimes hardship cases for bending the rules; but are there really that many youngsters desperately in need of someone to leave the toilet seat up, forget their birthday and fall asleep in front of the TV?
We have way too many families trying to put a positive spin on arranged marriages. (“Seems like only yesterday this little girl was born into our dysfunctional family — and now she’s starting a dysfunctional family of her own! I need my hanky. Oops, I accidentally snotted all over that fistful of money future son-in-law gave me...”)
I imagine I’ll be inundated with “and we proved ‘em all wrong” anecdotes about the perseverance of childhood sweethearts, but common sense tells me those are the exceptions. (“Me and Jim got married right after the spellin’ bee and cranked out a young’un a year until we caught on that Santa Claus never was gonna bring us no birth control...”)
I hope the worship of “diversity” doesn’t continue muddying the waters of what amounts to human trafficking. There are cultures and then there are cultures. (“You say your traditions include exotic foods, colorful costumes and lively dances? Mine include slave labor, codes of silence and puppy mill-like productivity. It’s like we’re sister cities!”)
Learn your own state’s policies. Tweak them and carve out reasonable exceptions, but take a stand for sanity.