The U.S. Senate has once again demonstrated its support for preventing the early and forced marriage of millions of girls by passing the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act on the Senate floor by voice vote yesterday evening. Just as they did in December 2010, Senators have unequivocally agreed: the United States has a role to play in working with national governments and local communities to ensure that early and forced marriage is recognized as a human rights violation, minimum age at marriage laws are enacted and enforced, and girls and their communities receive the information and services they need to stop marrying girls before they are ready and willing so they have a choice and a chance to fulfill their potential.
Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) are steadfast champions on this issue and deserve immense praise for their leadership to ensure this bipartisan legislation passed. Please take a moment and thank them for their work to end early and forced marriage. We now look to the Administration to do its part to ensure that sufficient attention and resources are directed to girls most in need to prevent more marriages from occurring and to support married adolescents. Together, we can all do our part to end this practice and secure the basic human right of all people to decide if, when, and whom they marry.