Why can’t a 16 or 17-year-old in New Jersey get married?
It's already galling that the state has any say in how old people should have to be to get married. The fact that different states have different minimum ages for marriage proves one thing: there's no right age.
Under current state law, 16 and 17-year-olds are allowed to marry, but only with parental consent. Children under the age of 16 can only marry with parental consent and a state judge's approval.
A new bill has been sent to Chris Christie's office where lawmakers want 18 to be the minimum age for marriage. Period.
The debate has raged for years over what is the appropriate age for marriage and trends change throughout the generations. Family, environment, culture and individual maturity are all factors that go into deciding the perfect age to get married. And that something that individual families have to figure out.
That's why the new bill that mandates the age of 18 as the minimum in New Jersey is preposterous.
I'd argue that it's the not the government's business to get involved in our business at all. Especially in such a personal decision as marriage. And that's not to mention the right to religious freedom that would constantly cause people to flout this law.
It may seem to be common knowledge in the United States of America that 18 is way too young to get married but that's not necessarily true. Humans, being humans, are all different and that's why to make a sweeping determination like this is wrong.
Assuming that this law is mostly directed toward women, I will tell you that the proponents of this law have an agenda. In fact one of the architects of this law is a fallen away Orthodox Jew who claims that her parents forced her into marriage (Judaism, by the way, explicitly prohibits forcing anyone into marriage).
But the fact is that there are 16 and 17-year-old girls who have marriage and motherhood as their primary goal in life (I know that sounds horrible to all of you "enlightened" women out there). But they consider that to be one of the loftiest and most important jobs in their lives, therefore they consider marriage differently. They get married, and remain committed and fulfilled till the day they die.
It's not for us and certainly not for the government to judge or legislate. There are many immigrants in this country who have gotten married younger than 18 because that's what their religion and culture dictates.
For instance, devout Indians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and others routinely get married younger than than and have long, successful and fulfilling marriages. That's just one example of why the state can't really decide. The other is that plenty of people throughout the history of this country have gotten married younger than 18 and have been very happy with that decision.
It's about the maturity of the person and their commitment level, not their age. Whether to get married young or old is such a personal family decision that it should be made with parents and families and the government should butt out.
More from New Jersey 101.5: