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Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris Joins Child Marriage Survivors to Discuss “The End Child Marriage Act”

For immediate release:
Child Marriage Bill Press Conference

Sacramento, CA - Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine) and child marriage survivors held a press conference to highlight Assembly Bill 2924, landmark legislation that will end child marriage in California. In 2021, an estimated 8,700 children were married in California.  If not for loopholes in California marriage law, the incidents would be classified as sex crimes. 

“I’m embarrassed that California, known for its progressive values, remains one of only four states in the nation without a minimum marriage age,” said Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris. “Child marriage is a practice that strips children of their autonomy, sexual and reproductive freedom, and forces them into adulthood prematurely.  This often results in a life filled with isolation, limited educational opportunities, and exposure to abuse”

California is one of only four states in the nation with no minimum age for marriage. Meanwhile, states such as New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Washington have already enacted laws to safeguard children from this egregious violation of their rights. AB 2924 seeks to rectify this oversight, providing much-needed protection to children under 18 in California.

Petrie-Norris was flanked on both sides by survivors of child and forced marriages, three of whom spoke about their mentally and physically abusive situations. Kate Yang was forced into a marriage when she was only 12-years-old, Sara Tasneem when she was only fifteen 15, and Fraidy Ross when she was nineteen 19. Tasneem, for example, shared that, after her initial “spiritual” marriage to a 28-year-old man, she was legally married in a California court one year later at 16 – and was already pregnant, evidence of the regular rape that she was forced to endure behind closed doors.

“AB 2924 will finally create the legal protection that support the rights and futures of our children, something they all deserve, said Fraidy Reiss, founder and Executive Director of Unchained At Last. “By prohibiting marriage under the age of 18, without exceptions, this bill aligns with the fundamental belief that children should have the opportunity to mature, to learn, and to grow before taking on the responsibilities and challenges of marriage.”

AB 2924 is co-authored by 25 legislators and supported by dozens of organizations and individuals. The bill will be heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, April 23rd.