Young Marriage In The Bluegrass State


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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17 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    The concept of different strokes for different folks seems increasingly hard to maintain in the globalized. When communities were relatively more isolated it was easier for them to maintain their way of doing things while ignoring other ways. Sure, the Pastor might preach about the immoral ways of the metropolis or urbane wits would sneer at country ways but the attempts to impose were limited to non-conforming members of the community. That’s bad but somewhat more dealable with.

    Now everybody is aware of everybody else’s dirty laundry and doesn’t like it. The general goal is to enforce more conformity on a larger level.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    The entire situation is also one of the contradictions of liberalism. At least in Anglophone liberalism, religious liberty and the ability of people to live as they please is considered important. Feminism and equal rights for women are important parts of modern liberalism. This can interact very badly with traditional religions and more conservative communities. You don’t want a girl screwed because of where she was born into but a confrontation between liberal communities and traditional communities will end badly for everybody.Report

    • Avatar Murali says:

      This has always been part of the equality freedom tug of war. Without a universal egalitarian ethos, people who are raised according to more hierarchical traditions may end up worse off than they otherwise would (at least according to some measures, though not necessarily according to the standards in which they were raised). However, imposing an egalitarian ethos on everyone would be wrong for the same reason that imposing Catholicism on everyone is wrong. If we say that egalitarianism is true and Catholicism is not, we’ve just become a different kind of theocrat with a different religion.Report

    • Avatar Murali says:

      Or alternatively, as Jacob Levy notes, its part of the Rationalism-Pluralism tug of warReport

  3. Avatar George Turner says:

    Meanwhile Facebook surveyed users to ask if it should allow grown men to ask 14-year old girls for sex pics. ArsTechnica story.

    There’s something to be said for sticking to our quaint old ways, even with early marriages. It builds families that stick together, because whatever marriage difficulties you may encounter, at the end of the day you have to respect your wife because when all is said and done, she’s still your sister.Report

  4. Avatar Kazzy says:

    We allow humans this age to have relationships. We (generally) allow them to have sex. So what makes marriage different?Report

    • Avatar Maribou says:

      @kazzy “We” don’t generally allow 13-14 year old girls, or even 15-16 year old girls, to have sex or relationships with men in their 30s, as per the Roy Moore scandal. I’m not sure that responding to that with “oh, but she’s *pregnant*” as the law in question currently allows (with permissions), is the best choice. Or, “oh, but his partner is *pregnant*” (seems to me if some 30 year old gets knocked up by a 15 year old kid, she should be facing charges, not getting child support… though I do think he should have parental rights… it’s very complex).

      That said, there’s no earthly reason I can see to keep *some* 16 year olds from marrying each other, either. Or some 16 year olds from marrying 20 year olds for that matter. My opinions on the matter aren’t much different from Will’s.

      Any age of consent law is going to mess up *some* things because people don’t age the same, not only because cultures differ. The question is always which things are going to get messed up.

      And contra the frame posited by some commenters above, this isn’t a “the world tries to make Kentucky conform” question. If anything it’s a “Kentucky tries to make Kentucky conform” question that the world is having fun acting scandalized about, because it’s always fun to mock Kentucky.

      (No, I don’t enjoy mocking Kentucky. That was irritated sarcasm, and directed at the media, not at you.)Report

      • Avatar Maribou says:

        @kazzy Though I’m not sure I answered your question, which as best I know would be something like “Young people are more easily exploited; marriage makes continued exploitation easier than other forms of relationships do.”Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:


          I probably framed my query differently.

          In deciding whether we should let teens marry, we should probably define what marriage is… both in practice and symbolically (with more emphasis on the former). My sense is it isn’t sufficiently different from other relationships such that we need special rules. But I may be way off.Report

          • Avatar Maribou says:

            My sense is it isn’t sufficiently different from other relationships such that we need special rules.

            Whether or not it differs emotionally, in practice it is treated as if it does, and that treatment makes it different, pragmatically. In a totally different context, think of all the reasons why folks wanted same-sex marriage equality from the state – it’s largely because the state gives *special privileges* to a spouse.

            In the context of exploitative relationships, those same special privileges make exploitation easier. This obviously isn’t the only kind of special relationship that makes exploitation easier – the really obvious one is parenthood – but it’s afaik the only one other than “power of attorney” that both people can enter into voluntarily, that has such a broad scope of effects. So it makes some sense to constrain the circumstances under which they can make that choice – at least for as long as it’s still the case that marriage allows for those extra privileges for spouses.

            I would argue that if it didn’t allow them, marriage would purely be a private matter, and I’m sure there are many here who would prefer that – but that’s not how it works right now.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 says:

      We don’t tend to allow humans that age to enter into binding legal contracts, which marriage is. Unless they have their parents consent, which is the general loophole. And the parent’s consent, when it comes to legal contracts, is supposed to be taking the child’s best interests in mind.

      In this case, the question is “Is this legal contract even applicable for 13 year olds, is there any case in which it is in the child’s best interest to do this?”. If there’s not, there’s no reason to allow the parent’s to enter the child into the contract — be definition, they’d be working against the child’s interests to do so.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        To be clear, none of the Kentucky debate involves thirteen year old kids being allowed to marry with only their parents consent.

        Articles keep implying it, supporters of the change keep alluding to it, but current Kentucky law does not allow it and as far as I know no one is suggesting it be changed to allow it.Report

  5. Avatar neal says:

    Well, I know this country.
    Hard workers wear out early, old age by thirty five or so, and so the metrics are not so easily tabled for later.

    It just goes faster and wears out sooner than the protected classes.

    Of course, everything dies and gets busy, sooner or later. Mostly.Report

  6. Avatar George Turner says:

    Somewhat related: BBC story on France setting the age of consent to 15.

    It had been discussing whether to set the age as 13 or 15, which is what groups fighting violence against children had campaigned for.

    I guess they just mature faster over there.Report

  1. March 16, 2018

    […] By the standards of the framing of the issue in Kentucky, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood are in favor of thirteen year olds getting […]Report