Other NJ News

Protesters Chain Together Outside Assemblyman Bramnick’s Westfield Office to Oppose Child Marriage

ed6443740769b0301363_8874f4481e9b3f97514a_IMG_8169.JPG
Chani Getter tells her story of being married at age 17 to the crowd of protesters outside Bramnick's office. Credits: Leah Scalzadonna
5b65c8be9bc5aad54f18_a7dceba7590f60e14b22_IMG_8186.JPG
Protesters covered their mouths with tape during a moment of silence for children who are entered into marriage. Credits: Leah Scalzadonna
2fc4f1f99f89e71a19fe_736b6c603559d62c7970_IMG_8180.JPG
Reiss, center, proposed a bill to ban child marriage completely in the state of New Jersey that was conditionally vetoed by Governor Chris Christie. Credits: Leah Scalzadonna
ed6443740769b0301363_8874f4481e9b3f97514a_IMG_8169.JPG

WESTFIELD, NJ – A mixed group of men, women and children took to the sidewalk outside New Jersey Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick’s office on Wednesday night to participate in a “chain-in” to protest Bramnick's proposed bill regarding child marriage.

Dressed in wedding gowns, veils and at times with tape across their mouths, protesters wore chains around their wrists and chanted “End child marriage now! Ask us and we’ll tell you how.”

The protest was organized by Fraidy Reiss, executive director of Unchained At Last, a nonprofit based in Westfield that helps women and girls escape forced marriages. Reiss drafted bill A3091, which would ban child marriage in New Jersey.

Sign Up for E-News

“Marriage before 18 is a human rights abuse,” Reiss, who was forced into marriage at age 19, said. “Child marriage helps no one and harms everyone it touches.”

Reiss’s bill was passed by state legislature but conditionally vetoed by Governor Chris Christie, who proposed adding more restrictions to the state's current law, which grants marriage licenses to minors age 16 and older with parental consent and to children under 16 with the permission of a family court judge.

On June 1, Bramnick introduced Bill A4883 which attempts to balance Christie’s conditions. The bill would ban those under 16 from marriage and only grant marriage licenses to minors age 16 and older if the denial of said license would result in “substantial damage to the minor.”

“I don’t know what he’s thinking,” Reiss said. “How could there ever be substantial harm to a child by not being subjected to a human rights abuse? I understand that he said he’s trying to make it difficult to allow a child marriage, but if you want to make it difficult to allow a child marriage, pass A3091. Override Christie’s veto. Don’t pass this messed-up bill and don’t subject girls to a judicial review.”

According to Reiss, subjecting a 16- or 17-year-old to judicial review, regardless of the standards, forces children to choose between two options – telling the judge they are forced into marriage and dealing with repercussions from their parents, or unwillingly entering into marriage and subjecting themselves to rape, abuse and a future that most likely does not include education, health or economic opportunities.

“I had no right to leave home or go ask for help because I was 17 years old,” protestor Chani Getter, who was married as a teenager, said. “At the age of 20, I had two kids. Every year that we push this is another child. From 16 to 18 is two children and a high school diploma. That’s the reality.”

“I’m in eighth grade,”another protester said. “Do I look young enough to be a bride?”

On Wednesday, Bramnick released a statement that said his legislation has “extremely tough standards” and makes child marriage “almost impossible.”

“I ask all supporters of the law to ban underage marriages to join with me to get it passed now,” Bramnick said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Montclair

Former Jefferson School Staffer Facing Criminal Charges For Alleged Lewd Photos of Students

June 21, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - A former Jefferson Elementary School paraprofessional has been charged with criminal behavior believed to be related to lewd photos of students at the school that were found on his cell phone after he was arrested in Morris County on an unrelated sexual charge.

It also appears that South Orange Maplewood School District officials knew about the arrests as early as ...

NJ Native and Children Shot in Colorado Road Rage Incident: Child Dies

June 22, 2018

WESTMINSTER, COLORADO: A native of Colts Neck, NJ and her children were attacked in a road rage shooting that left her 13 year old son dead and both her and another child injured. A third child was able to run to safety.

Jeremy Webster, 23, was charged with first degree murder, extreme indifference; three counts of attempted first-degree murder; three counts of first-degree assault ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_9f96b00f934f44e64d68_fridays-for-families-social-media-03

Fri, June 22, 3:00 PM

Outside of U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen's office, Morristown

Fridays for Families: Vigil in Morristown calls ...

Government Health & Wellness Law & Justice

Fri, June 22, 8:00 PM

Education Center, West Orange

Night Moves: Evening Guided Zoo Tours

Education Other

Montclair Police Blotter: Thai Chef Burglarized, Four iPhones Stolen and More

June 13, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ -  The following police blotter was compiled by the Montclair Police Department on June 12, 2018:

Burglary/Theft:

06-05-2018 (Union Street) Burglary to an apartment.  Cash was taken in this incident.  Access was gained through an unlocked rear door.  

06-05-2018 (Union Street) Theft of a scooter from the rear yard of a residence.

06-05-2018 (Elm ...

'Half Time' delivers with sterling cast

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other talents.

The musical centers on an effort to have seniors perform a dance number during ...

'Half Time' lights up Paper Mill stage

‘Half Time’ turns the tables on aging in gleeful production

By Liz Keill

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other ...

Montclair July 4th Celebrations to Honor Township's Sesquicentennial

June 22, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair is celebrating July 4th with a special 150th anniversary themed parade and fun-packed family picnic – expanded to mark the Township's sesquicentennial in style. The day’s events will be followed by evening fireworks at Yogi Berra Stadium on the Montclair State University campus. The parade and picnic are free, admission to the stadium will be $3 ...