Costa Mesa city council will vote March 2 on an “End Child Marriage Under 18, No Exceptions” law. Aliso Viejo city council will vote to adopt the same resolution March 3. (It was scheduled to do so during its Feb. 17 meeting, but the motion was delayed.)
It’s legal for minors to get married with parental consent and judicial approval in California. Sexual relations between minors and adults are allowed for, which would be illegal without marriage.
California has no minimum age to marry and no restrictions on the age differences between the partners.
The movement among Orange County cities to ban child marriage began Sept. 14, 2019 during a forum hosted by Global Hope 365, a non-profit based in Tustin. During the event, more than 100 Orange County elected officials and community leaders called for policies that bring an end to child marriage.
If Costa Mesa and Aliso Viejo approve the motions, the cities will authorize the use of their websites and social media platforms to post information related to ending child marriage.
Says a Costa Mesa city report: “It is negligent for communities and societies as a whole, to lock child brides and their families in a cycle of poverty that can persist across generations. Ending child marriage—enabling girls to finish school, delay motherhood, find decent work and fulfil their potential—could provide a secure future and limitless opportunities for success.”
If approved during the cities’ council meetings, the resolutions will take immediate effect.
The issue of child marriage has previously been addressed in several other Orange County cities.
Fullerton became the most recent Orange County city to adopt a resolution against child marriage last November.
Irvine, Anaheim, Newport Beach, and Yorba Linda passed the same resolution last year.
All of the resolutions passed unanimously.