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Child Marriages in the American State Idaho: Social and Legal Perspectives
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Law.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Child and teen marriages represent an important and very complex social and legal issue; even though the majority of literature is focused on developing countries, child marriages are also practiced and legalized in wealthy and developed countries like the United States. The focus of this study is the American state Idaho that bore the record for the highest rate of child marriages in the United States between 2000 and 2010. Scientific data pointed to many detrimental effects of early marriage for children, primarily higher risk of being a victim of abuse, and remaining within cycle of poverty. On the other hand, there are religion-based arguments that favor parental and legal exceptions in deciding child marriages. In following to scientific criticism of child marriages, some American states had decided to raise legal age for marriage. Idaho had defied this trend and recently rejected the proposed bill aimed at restricting legal age for marriage to 16 year olds. The most common factors that were identified as contributive to child marriages included poverty, residing in rural areas, and religion. These factors led to conflicting perceptions regarding legal status of child marriages in Idaho and; therefore, demands further investigating. The aim of this thesis was to identify not only the consequences of child marriages, but also its main contributive factors - poverty, religion, and living in rural vs. urban areas. The main research question; therefore, sought answers to: “What socio-legal factors are most contributive to child marriages (poverty, religion, and living in urban vs. rural areas) and which one ought to be prioritized in any attempts to legally regulate this practice in Idaho? The answer to research question is hoped to bring social and legal changes that will benefit the children in the state of Idaho and else ware. This qualitative and comparative analysis revealed that religious conservatism, primarily among Evangelical Protestants and Mormons, had the most contributing effect on child marriages in Idaho, with poverty and living in rural areas being secondary factors. Individual cases may differ, and/or contradict these findings. More detailed research would be required to complement these findings. The methodology of this project involved qualitative and comparative analysis. The primary research sources included scientific research/data, government data/reports, and NGO’s reports. The answer to research question is hoped to bring social and legal changes that will, above all, benefit the children in the state of Idaho and else ware.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
National Category
Law (excluding Law and Society) Law and Society
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-161070OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-161070DiVA, id: diva2:1332030
Educational program
Master's Programme in Law, Gender and Society
Examiners
Available from: 2019-06-27 Created: 2019-06-27 Last updated: 2019-06-27Bibliographically approved

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Child Marriages in the American State Idaho(1338 kB)32 downloads
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Citation style
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