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Ending child marriage in Pennsylvania/Lobbying for renewables

Written by Merideth Bucher, Producer | Jun 18, 2019 4:14 AM

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What to look for on Smart Talk, Tuesday, June 18, 2019:

Child marriage is something that happens in other countries, right? Not so fast, advocates say, because there are young people getting married in the U.S.

Around the world, nearly 12 million girls marry before the age of 18 every year. Numbers in the U.S. are a little harder to come by since there are few studies and no federal laws regarding child marriage. Each state sets its own requirements. However, data collected from 41 states found that more than 200,000 minors were married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2015.

With some exceptions, there is no minimum age in Pennsylvania for a child to marry. Children, mostly girls, age 15 or younger can marry with parental consent and if a court decides it is in her best interest. Children 16 or 17 only need parental consent.

Legislation is being considered in the Pennsylvania Senate to eliminate the loopholes in the current law that allow for marriage under 18. Legislators say there is a fine line between consent and coercion, and Senate Bill 81 will provide both parties the opportunity to consider their options as adults.

Appearing on Smart Talk on Tuesday to discuss the issue and legislation are sponsors Sen. John Sabatina Jr., a Democrat serving Philadelphia (part) County, Sen. Judith Schwank, a Democrat serving Berks (part) County, and Fraidy Reiss, executive director of Unchained At Last.

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Sen. Judith Schwank (L) and Sen. John Sabatina (R)

Also, hundreds of Pennsylvanians will descend on Harrisburg this week to advocate for bipartisan legislation that will transition Pennsylvania to 100% renewable energy to help combat climate change. Joining us on Smart Talk to talk about the state's largest annual citizen lobby day for the environment is David Masur, executive director of PennEnvironment.

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