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Mass. lawmakers hear testimony on proposed bill that would end child marriages

Testimony on a proposed bill that would end child marriages in Massachusetts took place in a committee hearing Tuesday, November 16, 2021.
Nirvani Williams
/
NEPM
Testimony on a proposed bill that would end child marriages in Massachusetts took place in a committee hearing Tuesday, November 16, 2021.

Massachusetts lawmakers heard testimony Tuesday on a bill proposing to end child marriage in the state.

Under current law, anyone under the age of 18 is allowed to get married with parental consent.

But Worcester State Sen. Harriette Chandler, who sponsors the bill, said minors who marry are not old enough to obtain legal resources to end their marriage.

“Because they have so few options, because as a result, it is so exceedingly difficult for child brides to tell their stories. We are here today to be their voice,” Chandler said.

Tammy Monteiro said she got married at the age of 15.

“In order to fulfill my duties as a wife, I had to leave high school my junior year, and it was only after I divorced that I could continue my education and actually find a career path. The social isolation at that time severed all my relationships,” Monteiro said.

According to state Rep. Paul Donato, who supports the bill, 1,400 girls under the age of 14 were married in Massachusetts since 2010.

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