Archive for Friday, July 29, 2005

Kansas’ child marriage law angers Neb. attorney general

July 29, 2005


It's a law that the top law-enforcement official of a neighboring state calls ridiculous:

In Kansas, it's OK for children to have sex as long as they're married, and they can get married whenever their parents say they're ready.

Nebraska Atty. Gen. Jon Bruning lashed out at the law this week after a pregnant 14-year-old Nebraska girl came across state lines into Kansas to marry her 22-year-old boyfriend - who was later charged with first-degree sexual assault. In Nebraska, children must be at least 17 to get married.

Despite this example, Kansas lawmakers say the law hasn't been a major issue in recent years. At Douglas County District Court, only four minors have applied for marriage licenses since the beginning of 2004, according to a review of records this week. The youngest was 16 - old enough to legally consent to sex under Kansas law.

"If the people of Kansas contact my colleagues and I and tell us 'We want it changed,' we'd certainly look at it," said Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence. "But we haven't seen a lot of 14-year-olds getting married. I don't think this is a problem."

Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said it might be worthy of discussion.

"At first blush, it does seem to make some sense to set a minimum age requirement for marriage," he said.

Whitney Watson, a spokesman for Atty. Gen. Phill Kline, said Kline did not have a position on the law.

Kansas law says that before children younger than 18 may marry, they must have consent of a father, mother or legal guardian and consent of a judge. But if all parents or legal guardians of the child give their consent, the judge's consent isn't required.

It's normally a crime to have sex with someone younger than 16 in Kansas, but the laws don't apply if the parties are married.


Dani Davey 12 years, 11 months ago

I think the Nebraska Attorney General should be upset at the parents of the girl for this situation, not our law. If I had had a 22 year old boyfriend when I was 14 I would have been locked in my room.

Ceallach 12 years, 11 months ago

The 22 year old should be prosecuted for 1) having sex and impregnating a 14 year old girl, and 2) taking her across state lines to marry her.

The marriage comes after the crime against a child and should not be considered legal. If she's 14 now, don't you wonder how old she was when this MAN started molesting her. Why aren't authorities seeking legal penalties for him and counseling for the 14 year old who has been denied a major part of her childhood - adolescence (The period of physical and psychological development from the onset of puberty to complete growth and maturity.) Marrying her off is the same a writing her off psychologically and socially. It probably made her parents feel better and it certainly helped the man dodge a legal bullet, but the girl was not served well by these events.

momof3 12 years, 11 months ago

Did Nebraska forget that the couple in question came from NEBRASKA? The "molesting" and sex took place in NEBRASKA! Kansas only married the couple. It seems Nebraska authorities only arrested the guy after they were married because that is when it came to their attention. Where were the Nebraska authorities when the couple was dating?

captain_poindexter 12 years, 11 months ago

flat out bad law. he is a child molester. period.

get a life loser, have sex and marry someone your own age, or at least not 13.

Ceallach 12 years, 11 months ago

momof3: Very good point. This child's welfare has been neglected by her parents and both states. Yes, they were from Nebraska, but yes, someone in Kansas married them. There's more than enough blame to go around for sure.

Now a 14 year old will be raising a baby while she still has trouble deciding which nail polish goes with what outfit. The bride will need a lot of prayer and counseling to see her through years of needing to act like a woman while she is still an adolescent. As for him, put him in jail and keep him there. But of course that will not happen. If a man wants to break laws and do little or no time he just needs to be smart enough to commit his crimes against women or children. Chances are he will walk out of the courtroom and return home to his "little woman."

Al_N_SoCal 12 years, 11 months ago

Ah, Kansas the state that seems to be stuck in the 18th Century.

People of Kansas - is it THAT hard to undertand that marriage to a 13 y/o is a disgusting tragedy?

I thought Kansas was all about righteousness & "family values"?? Maybe that's only when telling others what to do...

Sugarcookie 12 years, 11 months ago

I'm always amazed at people who are always so quick to judge other people! I was born and raised in the glorious state of Nebraska, and became pregnant at the age of 15 by my boyfriend of almost two years, who happened to be 10 years my senior. We crossed the state line to Kansas to be married also. I have been married to this "pedophile" for almost 34 years. We have produced three healthy, happy, and financially secure offspring and are as happy today as the day we were married. How many couples can say that?

And as fate would have it, we are from the same town as this couple that are making these ridiculous headlines. These "concerned" citizens that have contacted the attorney general about this incident that "has sickened them" should be more concerned about the crackheads that roam their streets and all the dead- beat fathers that refuse to support their children instead of picking on a 22 year old that obviously is trying to do the right thing.

Have you all seen the movie " Boy's Don't Cry"? Yep, that was our town. Somehow, getting a girl pregnant doesn't seem so bad.

space_rabbit_kerosene 12 years, 11 months ago

'concerned' citizens and crack heads must be stopped before they steal your civil liberties and hub caps!!!! From time to time less than desirable things happen... and stories unfold. There isn't anything you can do, perfect families are for television.

Al_N_SoCal 12 years, 10 months ago

If parents agree that a 13 y/o should marry a 22 y/o then I think the parents should be arrested and the CHILD taken away from them.

If everyone in KS & Nebraska are so hip to underage marriage for women, why are the minimum ages in the law different for boys & girls? Notice that I used boys and girls instead of men & women, but since many of you appear to have no problem with a MAN or WOMAN having premarital sex with a boy or girl then why are there differences in the minimum age depending on gender?

It's so clear to everyone the reasons behind the fact that the law protects boys until they are 14 and girls only until age 12. Maybe in your eyes boys are in need of more 'protection', but to everyone else your views show that you believe (wrongly) that men are somehow more important than girls..... How sad is that?

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