MP fights to stop forced marriage

Stuff.co.nz 13 November 2012
After hearing of a distraught schoolgirl forced to marry by her parents, Auckland-based National MP Jackie Blue knew she couldn’t stand by and do nothing. One hundred teenagers nationally, including¬† 50 in Auckland, who marry each year would require a court’s permission to walk down the aisle under Blue’s proposed amendment to the Marriage Act. Marriage under the age of 16 years is illegal in New Zealand, but 16 and 17-year-olds can marry with parental consent. About 600 Aucklanders from the latter group gained consent to marry in the 10 years from 2001, making up 60 per cent of the national teenage marriage figures, according to Statistics New Zealand. Four out of five of those were female. Blue, who is the National list MP for Mt Roskill, said only a small number of teenage nuptials would be marriages forced upon girls for cultural reasons. “The majority are probably quite legitimate, but the majority of those minors are young girls. I can’t not do anything. If it saves one young girl it’s going to be worth it.” No data exists on how many people have been forced to marry as affected women are often hidden from the glare of social services. But while researching the issue Blue heard of a recent incident.¬† http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/7939564/MP-acts-against-forced-marriage

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