Marlin Stutzman couldn’t bring himself to vote for an international effort to end violence against women around the world by working to protect girls in developing countries through the prevention of child marriage. What kind of mindset drove 157 Republicans – including Stutzman – to vote against this bill?

I would be fascinated to hear Stutzman’s arguments as to why he rejected this bill.  Perhaps he thinks we shouldn’t be meddling in the affairs of other countries in this manner.  Of course, I imagine he supports meddling when it comes to decimating countries to sniff out and kill terrorists.  How is it that the status of women always seems to take a back seat?

So, Congressman Stutzman, exactly what was your reason for voting against this bill?  Just for informational purposes, here are a few of the findings of Congress:

Congress makes the following findings:

    • (1) Child marriage, also known as `forced marriage’ or `early marriage’, is a harmful traditional practice that deprives girls of their dignity and human rights.
    • (2) Child marriage as a traditional practice, as well as through coercion or force, is a violation of article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, `Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of intending spouses’.
    • (3) According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), an estimated 60,000,000 girls in developing countries now ages 20 through 24 were married under the age of 18, and if present trends continue more than 100,000,000 more girls in developing countries will be married as children over the next decade, according to the Population Council.
    • (4) Between 1/2 and 3/4 of all girls are married before the age of 18 in Niger, Chad, Mali, Bangladesh, Guinea, the Central African Republic, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, and Nepal, according to Demographic Health Survey data.
    • (5) Factors perpetuating child marriage include poverty, a lack of educational or employment opportunities for girls, parental concerns to ensure sexual relations within marriage, the dowry system, and the perceived lack of value of girls.
    • (6) Child marriage has negative effects on the health of girls, including significantly increased risk of maternal death and morbidity, infant mortality and morbidity, obstetric fistula, and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.
    • (7) According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), increasing the age at first birth for a woman will increase her chances of survival. Currently, pregnancy and childbirth complications are the leading cause of death for women 15 to 19 years old in developing countries.
    • (8) Most countries with high rates of child marriage have a legally established minimum age of marriage, yet child marriage persists due to strong traditional norms and the failure to enforce existing laws.
    • (9) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has stated that child marriage is `a clear and unacceptable violation of human rights’, and that `the Department of State categorically denounces all cases of child marriage as child abuse’.
    • (10) According to an International Center for Research on Women analysis of Demographic and Health Survey data, areas or regions in developing countries in which 40 percent or more of girls under the age of 18 are married are considered high-prevalence areas for child marriage.
    • (11) Investments in girls’ schooling, creating safe community spaces for girls, and programs for skills building for out-of-school girls are all effective and demonstrated strategies for preventing child marriage and creating a pathway to empower girls by addressing conditions of poverty, low status, and norms that contribute to child marriage.

The age of the young “brides” makes no difference – they will be forced into sexual relations with much older men.  They will conceive, and they will bear children – often all before the age of 15.

Cost?  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing the bill would cost $67 million over five years, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.  We can spend billions and billions on two wars that have had minimal impact, and we can’t bring ourselves to work on an issue that impacts the health and well-being of millions of young women around the world.

Stutzman needs to do some research before he votes on bills instead of taking the knee-jerk Republican stance.


About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
This entry was posted in Congress, Government, Indiana, Marlin Stutzman, Republicans, Third District, Women's Interests and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. tim zank says:

    My guess is he voted no because it’s nothing more than a “gee, we feel better now that we made a statement” bill. Spending 67 million dollars to allow democrats to feel good about themselves is a waste of money.

    As a country we can admonish, ridicule, or even withhold aid to countries whom we deem in violation of human rights, but dropping 67 mil to basically set up a formal committee to “voice our opinion” is ridiculous.

    Waste of money.

    • Tim:

      A agree that is a “feel good” statement. But I would rather have this feel good goal with its 67 million than have earmarks that study the sex life of chimps or some other ridiculous study.

      I recently started tutoring and mentoring a 20-year-old woman from Afghanistan. We, over here, cannot imagine the horror that women go through in other countries where women are seen as nothing more than property – where their lives are worthless.

      Some of the stories she has told me still leave me shaking my head and wondering how this can happen. We get the “good” stuff that involves Kabul. But she said once you leave Kabul, the rural areas are still the same as they have always been. She is going to try to go to college here and become a lawyer so she can return and help the women in her country.

      And, I am going to do as much as I can to see that her goal is realized.

      • tim zank says:

        Charlotte, what you and people like you are doing for young women like her is absolutely wonderful, and I mean that sincerely. That being said, it’s not the role of the united states congress to appropriate millions of dollars to help women in other countries, honestly it’s up to people like you and human rights organizations.

        I agree wholeheartedly about not spending taxpayer money on ridiculous studies either, but you can’t justify spending 67 mil on this by citing other expenditures that were frivilous, we simply need to stop the frivilous ones completey.

  2. Jim Wetzel says:

    Were I a Congresscreature, I’d have voted against that bill. I’d vote against any bill under which the government undertakes actions for which no specific, enumerated authorization appears in the US constitution. But then, that would mean that I’d vote against 98+% of the bills that come before the Congress — emphatically including various war authorizations, Pentagon appropriations, “PATRIOT” acts, and whatnot. So your secondary point is well taken; I’m sure Stutzman is an unprincipled hypocrite who has already broken his oath of office a bunch of times. As do they all.

  3. You lost! says:

    Get over it you lost…

  4. G.R. says:

    You stated:

    Of course, I imagine he supports meddling when it comes to decimating countries to sniff out and kill terrorists.

    There you go again being all high and mighty and presumptuous. Remember your savior Obama and his actions in Afghanistan? Or did you forget? Never heard you bitch about that.

    Countries like Bangladesh and Nepal won’t change just because we tell them to. You cannot change their culture with a few million bucks.

    • Not sure how you missed my post:

      I do not agree with Obama on Afghanistan any more than I agreed with Bush on Afghanistan or Iraq. Or Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon on Vietnam.

      By the way, Obama is not my savior – I supported Hillary. I voted for Obama because I am a democrat and will not leave my party because I disagree with some of its policies.

      Countries won’t change just because we tell them to, but education is critical to changing many things.

      My point is that Stutzman is a hypocrite. I wonder how he will vote on continuing to fund the wars?

  5. cw martin says:

    Charlotte, I agree with you that this is a good cause. The bill itself, however, I have doubts about.
    1. I would guess that Stutzman’s main reason against it is that it is another program needing funding-funding which he was sent to Congress to curtail.
    2. This sounds an awful lot like forcing our morality on other countries by legislation. Heck, we can’t even do that here in the USA. How is it going to go over in countries with their differing cultures?
    3. Seems to me that a lot of these ideas could be more efficiently done by social and relief agencies already on the ground.
    4.Along those lines, this sounds like more of a UN task to oversee, not that of any individual member no matter the good intents.
    5. I think that we would be better served to work with the individual governments themselves, offering aid where accepted and using economic clout when neccessary.
    6. To sum up, I see the fatal flaw being that Congress is there to pass laws to govern OUR country, not others. This smacks too much to me of the latter.

    • Cw:

      Yes, it is certainly forcing morality on another country. But how do we stand by and watch from the sidelines when genital mutilation is carried out on women, when women’s noses and ears are cut off to destroy their “value?”

      This is not a law to govern another country. In a world fraught with wars, death, and destruction, we have to have a common decency that applies to all human beings.

      Didn’t our Founding Fathers use the phrase “all men are created equal?” Did that phrase only apply to our country, or do you think they meant that “all” as in those worldwide? Of course, in that day and age, it may only have referenced white, propertied males in America. But, even if that is the case, we have moved to the point where we recognize the necessity of human dignity for all – including women.

      • cw martin says:

        I agree with your points, just not the means of accomplishing it. Loathe as I am to imply that the UN can do anything right, I think this is an area that the UN should handle and if we want to pony up for part of it, fine. There isn’t one nation out there that would take this as anything but “new American imperialism” and crucify us for doing good. By the way, God bless you for what you are doing to help. But, I’m sorry, it’s not the job I voted for Marlin to do.

  6. It is legal in Indiana for a 17 year old to get married with the consent of his or her parents.

  7. G.R. says:

    Robert, on top of that, the legal age of sexual consent in Indiana is 16 years-old. About 14-15 years ago, it was 13. Imagine that.

  8. Robert:

    The consent has to be for both individuals, and the young man or woman is not forced to get married. I got married at 17 1/2 because I was pregnant – I already know the law on that one. But had I NOT wanted to get married, I would not have been forced to marry.

    I hope you are not comparing Indiana’s statute with the situation in countries that practice forced marriage. In those countries, consent is not required – families force the young girls into marriage whether they want to or not. Some of the young girls are 8 and 9 years old.

  9. Robert and G.R. – you are mixing the issues. Consent to sex is not consent to marry. Young people have underage sex on a frequent basis. But their parents do not force them to marry because they had underage sex.

    Consent to sex ties in with the criminal aspect of rape. Indiana does not have statutory rape anymore. The age categories are divided into brackets to establish the degree of the crime i.e D felony, C felony, etc.

    Please don’t confuse the two issues. I am talking about forced marriage. I don’t know anyone in my realm of knowledge here in the United States who was forced by a parent to marry because of cultural expectations.

  10. curious, here in the epicenter of high culture, and intellectual achievement, we call it child rape/child molesting. OHHH_ i get it-its biblical to allow marriage at age 12to the tribal patriarchs. so it must be ok if its in the bible- because the bible tells me so?
    god help us- who are the idiots that keep electing these morons?
    Quayle, Coats, Souder, and now stuxnet; spudnut; sputnik, whatever.
    and what does that say about the intellectual prowess of his voters, and supporters, and NE Indiana in general? a grinning, baby faced, “Moonie” loony-toons cultist. Hes as nutty as that wack job from Tucson, with as bout a kooky world view as well . Loughner for congress! Indiana 3rd district- we’ll elect anybody if theyre a republican! cant lose! non lol’ing- too sick . BUARRRRFFF!

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