Just because you made a baby does NOT mean you are in a position to get married to the mother or father of your baby -- especially if you are 15 years old. That's the message some Florida lawmakers are putting out there by moving to ban marriage for teens 15 or younger.
According to state records, there were a whopping 110 marriages involving kids 16 and younger in Florida last year -- which just seems bonkers, regardless of whether these couples had children or not. If the law passes, Florida would be one of 10 states -- including Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin -- that already oppose marriage for children 16 and younger. But that's not going far enough.
I realize it may seem odd to keep a young man and woman who conceived and gave birth to a child from standing at an altar and saying "I do," but the reality is we aren't talking about a "man" or "woman." We're referring to children who don't have assets to share, are still being covered by their parents when it comes to medical insurance, and can't likely afford to move out and start their own lives.
So what on earth is the point of letting them get married -- even if they had a baby together?
Those of us who are married know it is hard work. Compromise and negotiation are two traits that aren't easily acquired by adults. How can we expect 14- or 15-year-old children to wrap their minds around all that is needed to keep a commitment like that working?
And not to put a damper on romance, but let's be pragmatic. People who are married are expected to provide for one another. By allowing a 14-year-old to wed, you're basically telling him or her it's also okay to drop out of school and begin working full-time. It's important that the minimum legal age for marriage lines up with the age at which a person can financially support his or her spouse and child.
Aren't we also condoning teenage sex by allowing teens of any age to get married? I realize the state doesn't dictate what we teach our kids about sexuality, but it sure doesn't help when the message put forth is that it's okay to get married at 16, but not 14. So, it's okay to have sex and possibly get pregnant at 16, when you're still pretty helpless, but not at 14, when you're just as helpless?
Do you think there should be a minimum age for marriage?
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