In a bizarre tactical misstep by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, he vetoed a ban on child marriage. The explanation that Chris Christie has given was that such a ban would violate religious freedoms by interfering with religious customs.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vigorously defends child marriage, vetos ban citing "religious customs." https://t.co/Omzzuqm6HM
— Stefan Molyneux (@StefanMolyneux) May 11, 2017
Chris Christie did not mention which religions, in particular, he was referring to but the vast majority of child marriages that are religious cause emanate from Islam. For Chris Christie, who pitched himself as a staunch supporter of Trump and ideas such as the “Muslim ban”, this strange change to appeasement is a surprise to many.
This veto is a setback towards the fight against child marriage which is estimated to be a widespread problem that may have affected up to 170,000 between 2000 and 2010. The bill, as it had already been approved by both houses of the legislature, would have made New Jersey one of the first states to outlaw child marriage altogether.
Other states have already taken steps to fight this problem. New York introduced legislation that would ban all marriages of minors under 18 and similar bills were introduced in Maryland and Virginia.
Aside from the obvious moral problems imposed by child marriages, studies show that child marriage also has a detrimental effect on health, education, and economic opportunities. Also, children involved in child marriages are more likely to face abuse and violence at the hands of their spouse.
It would not be an unprecedented occurrence for the United States government to have to mandate laws preserving traditional family values against certain religions. In 1869 the Supreme Court ordered that the First Amendment did not protect polygamy as a valid institution based on the contention it would have interfered with traditional marriage. This ruling led to the majority of Mormons assimilating to the rest of the United States and abandoning polygamy.
Similar to child marriage, polygamy, aside from the moral problems, does pose other dangers. Children of polygamous “families” are for instance, often victims of abuse. Most certainly part of this is the fact that biological parents are less likely to abuse their children than non-biological parents, this also makes child abuse more common in “gay marriages” as well. While the court case in 1869 was leveled against Mormons, polygamy is no longer practiced by the majority of Mormons but does remain a mainstream practice within Islam. The damage of polygamy is not limited to the children either, as research shows that it can increase the risk of heart disease by up to four times as well.
Now, however, the institution of marriage and the traditional family values that it should represent, are under constant siege. There was the unconstitutional enforcement of “gay marriage” across all states, including ones where the vast majority of the population was against it. Even the long-standing ban on polygamy has been under assault by activist judges. This halting of a ban on child marriage at the behest of non-Christian religious minorities is merely the latest in a long line of assaults.
There is an obvious problem in the concept of “religious freedom” as applied by the left. Apparently, it’s a horrible crime if a business wishes to not be forced to partake in things that they disagree with, such as “gay marriage”, but the ability to marry children needs to be upheld? Not to mention that it’s only when Christian businesses refuse service to “gay marriages” that there is a problem, as there is no such case being made against non-Christians that do the same.
Another potential problem this could cause for Chris Christie is his struggle to retain his office. After the “bridge-gate” scandal and the inability to make it into the inner circle of the Trump cabinet, Chris Christie found himself appearing as the least popular governor in an April poll. Chris Christie’s future as Governor of New Jersey will not benefit from his refusal to back this bill aimed at stopping child marriage, that’s certain.