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Zonta Takes Stance Against Child Marriage Through Legislation

Zonta International and the city of Burbank will announce their request for new legislation against child marriages in California on the steps of the Burbank City Hall on Oct. 5.

A lineup of speakers are expected to address the issue of the defects in the current child marriage law in California, the negative impact child marriage has on children, and the pitfalls of child marriages for society, according to a statement by Zonta International.

Speakers will include Burbank Mayor Konstantine Anthony, Ela Pandya, who is member of Zonta International and chair of the California Coalition to End Child Marriage, survivors of child marriage and other dignitaries.

“Children married under the age of 18 often live a life full of hardships and abuse,” Pandya wrote in a statement to the leader. “Most of the married children are girls who become mothers at a young age, are not able to finish even high school education and are subject to domestic violence. Yet, since they are under 18, they have no access to help and support.”

California is one of seven states that has no age restriction on child marriages, even though divorces are not legal until that child turns 18, CalMatters reported.

“Child marriages hurt our girls, our children, and our society by making our children live unproductive lives,” Pandya said in the statement. “Please join us on the steps of the city hall of Burbank to learn more about child marriages and support us in asking for new legislation eliminating exceptions to the law of no marriages under the age of 18.”

First published in the September 23 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

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