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A Missouri lawmaker defended child marriage, saying kids he knows who got married at age 12 are ‘still married’

Republican Missouri state Sen. Mike Moon speaks in his Capitol office on Feb. 1, 2022, in Jefferson City, Mo.Republican Missouri state Sen. Mike Moon speaks in his Capitol office on Feb. 1, 2022, in Jefferson City, Mo.

David A. Lieb, File/Associated Press

  • Missouri State Sen. Mike Moon defended child marriage on Tuesday, citing a couple he knows.
  • Moon said the couple married at age 12 and that they were still together.
  • He added they had gotten pregnant and that their parents consented to the marriage.

Missouri State Sen. Mike Moon defended child marriage on Tuesday, touting the apparently successful marriage of people he knows who got married when they were 12.

The Republican made the comments during a debate on a bill he introduced that would ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth in the state. 

Video of the exchange showed Democratic state Rep. Peter Meredith confronting Moon over past comments he made about parents’ rights to make decisions concerning their own children.

“You voted ‘no’ on making it illegal for kids to be married to adults at the age of 12 if their parents consented to it,” Meredith told Moon. “You said actually that should be the law because it’s the parents’ right and the kid’s right to decide what’s best for them. To be raped by an adult.”

“Do you know any kids who have been married at age 12?” Moon asked in response.

“I don’t need to,” Meredith said.

“I do. And guess what? They’re still married,” Moon replied.

—philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) April 12, 2023

 

Moon did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment but defended his statement on Twitter. He wrote that the “back story” was missing, explaining “a 12-year-old impregnated a minor of similar age.”

“With consent of the parents, they married… and are still married today,” he said, adding, “their marriage is thriving.”

The Springfield News-Leader reported that Moon has a documented history of supporting child marriage with parental consent.

In 2018 the Missouri legislature passed a bill raising the state’s minimum marriage age from 15 to 16, with teens under 18 requiring parental consent. Moon voted against the bill, claiming he knew a couple who had been married since they were 12, according to the outlet.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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