Following online backlash from Democrats and critics, state Senator Mike Moon released a video to clear up the “confusion” about his remarks.
By Timothy Bella
AS MISSOURI lawmakers were debating a bill last week that would ban all gender-affirming care for transgender children, the Republican who introduced the proposal suggested that children as young as 12 should be allowed to get married in the state.
During testimony in the Missouri House General Laws Committee over a bill that has already passed in the Missouri Senate, state Senator Mike Moon (R) was asked by state Peter Merideth (D) why he had previously voted against prohibiting kids to marry adults at the age of 12 with parental consent.
“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,” Merideth said. “To be raped by an adult.”
In response, Moon said he knew of at least one couple that made it work after being married at an age when most children are in the seventh grade.
“Do you know any kids who have been married at age 12? I do,” Moon said. “And guess what? They’re still married.”
Following online backlash from Democrats and critics, Moon released a video on Thursday to clear up the “confusion” about his remarks.
After saying that he does not support adults marrying minors and emphasising that rapists should “be punished to the full extent of the law”, Moon again referenced the couple he says he knows who married at 12 as a result of the girl’s pregnancy. The Republican mentioned this week that the couple’s marriage is “thriving”.
“I understand this clip may lead to some misunderstanding,” Moon said, adding that what “is often missing is the back story”.
“When this couple was in their teens – actually pre-teens – they took actions that resulted in the girl becoming pregnant,” he said. “The youngsters’ parents decided to allow the children to marry. They weren’t forced.”
Moon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.
The GOP lawmaker’s remarks came the same week that Missouri’s attorney-general announced new restrictions on gender-affirming care for adults and minors in a decision believed to be the first in the nation.
When Missouri passed a law in 2018 that raised the marriage age in the state from 15 to 16 and required for older teens to get parental permission to marry, Moon opposed the bill, according to the Springfield News-Leader.
Moon cited the same anecdote of the 12-year-olds marrying, which he acknowledged to be an extreme example, as “something to ponder” when it came to marriage among children.
* Maham Javaid contributed to this report.
– THE WASHINGTON POST