Child Brides Are American As Apple Pie

My daily routine for Slashdot is to post one or two comments each day, watch my trolls spew forth 25+ comments for each of my comment, and laugh at the dumpster fires. Last week the dumpster fires got serious. My trolls accused me of wanting to marry a child bride from Mexico (a different thread has 50+ comments about child brides). Twisting my past comments about underage marriages — not child brides — out of context. The sad reality is that child brides are as American as apple pie in all 50 states.

Retirement Stories in Silicon Valley

I’ve heard stories of engineers saving enough money to retire to Mexico, build a mansion and marry a sweet young thing. The village elders allowed this with the understanding that the American would leave everything to the village when he dies. A win-win situation for getting the most “bang” out of retirement dollars.

The focus of these stories was always on the low-cost of housing in a foreign country. A million dollars in Mexico can buy a large plot of land for a mansion and a vineyard. I don’t believe that a McMansion — an old house torn down to build a large two-story house on a tiny lot — for $1M in Silicon Valley is possible anymore.

As for the “sweet young thing,” she is just an afterthought. A poor young woman marrying a rich old man is the stuff of telenovelas. None of the stories I’ve ever heard suggested that the retiring engineer was looking for a child bride. Mexican marriage law, like American marriage laws in some states, does allow a 14-year-old girl to marry with parental consent.

Since I started my current job in government IT three years ago, I’ve heard similar stories about ex-military coworkers retiring to the Philippines. Filipino marriage law requires 18- to 21-year-olds need parental consent and 21- to 25-year-olds need parental advice. Since young adults are held to a higher standard than in the U.S., it’s probably not a good idea to ask about child brides.

Child Brides in The U.S.

The general age for marriage in the United States is 18. Most states allow underage marriages with parental consent and/or court reviews for 16- to 18-year-olds. While 25 states have no minimum age at all, allowing children as young as 12 to marry an adult.

As reported by NPR:

Child marriage isn’t just a practice that victimizes girls in poor countries. As this blog has previously reported, it’s also long been an issue in the United States, involving girls from a wide range of backgrounds. Based on state marriage license data and other sources, advocacy groups and experts estimate that between 2000 and 2015 alone, well over 200,000 children — nearly all of them girls — were married. In nearly all cases the husband was an adult.

Lawmakers are reluctant to change state marriage laws. Some believe it would infringe on religious freedom. Others believe that marriage is a solution for teenage pregnancies. Neither statements are true. The problem with many lawmakers is that they are old white men who have nothing in common with today’s society. Only a few states are trying to strike child marriages from the books.

False Narratives on Slashdot

While I have no interest in Russian schoolboys, Bangcock ladyboys, or American/Mexican/Filipino child brides, these are the false narratives that my trolls have pushed so far this year. They believe that Slashdot is my “permanent record” on the Internet. Something that the Real World™ will forever hold against me, as if life was just a continuation of high school. The funny thing is that I never went to high school and I still got two associate degrees.

Special thanks go to the Anonymous Cowards (ACs) on Slashdot who protested this false narrative, posted news article links and tried to raise awareness about this serious issue.