Dating for 15 year olds

Down in Missouri’s Bootheel, the poorest corner of the state, Pam Strawbridge, the Pemiscot County recorder of deeds, has been issuing marriage licenses from her red brick courthouse for 40 years.

Combined with nearby Dunklin County, the area ranks with St.

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They endure higher rates of psychiatric disorders, health problems and even physical and sexual abuse.

A majority of child brides drop out of high school and rely on government assistance.

Time ran out before the bill could make it to the Senate floor. Bill White, a Joplin Republican, pushed for a compromise to accommodate families who believe strongly that children should be born in wedlock.

He offers the example of, say, a 16-year-old pregnant girl who wants to marry her 17-year-old boyfriend.

Strawbridge has issued marriage licenses to 15-year-old brides and grooms from Missouri and, just as often, to those who travel to Missouri because of its lenient law.

“Fifteen-year-olds should be coloring in coloring books or something.” Compared to the state’s 40,000 or so marriages a year, a handful of 15-year-old brides may not seem like much.More than 1,000 children the same age as Brittany have married in the state since 1999.No place in the United States is easier, The Star found in an analysis of child marriage statutes across the country.In Missouri, married minors under 18 aren’t even allowed to file for divorce without a parent’s signature.If their marriage turns abusive, they often are too young to check themselves into an adult shelter.Every other state requires some combination of a judge’s order, parents’ permission, premarital counseling or proof of pregnancy. But in Missouri, brides and grooms as young as 15 can marry with no more than the single approving swipe of their parent’s pen, even if the other parent objects. The result: A review of some 50,000 marriage licenses shows how Missouri’s lax law has for years turned the state into a destination wedding spot for 15-year-old child brides, often rushing to get married.

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