Karen Carter Peterson’s Anti-Child Marriage Bill Hurts The Cause More Than It Helps

The affinity for the music of Jerry Lee Lewis aside, it’s a fact of modern American society that child marriage, particularly child marriage involving an older man and a much younger bride, gives us the creeps. It wasn’t all that long ago – 25 years, to be exact – that the ATF and FBI burned down the Mt. Carmel compound outside of Waco, Texas, killing dozens of members of the Branch Davidian sect, largely out of “concern” for the welfare of a few teenaged girls who were married to older men and accusations they were being abused.

And it was a very short time ago that Alabama Republican Roy Moore lost what was a more or less unlosable race mostly due to a media firestorm over his romantic pursuits of much younger women 35 years earlier.

But Jerry Lee Lewis, David Koresh and Roy Moore aren’t exactly the target of a number of state laws being passed to stop the practice. Those laws are usually aimed at enforcing American culture and assimilating people coming here with very different cultures and belief systems than ours – often those alien cultures have child marriage as a key tenet, and those marriages serve as a barrier to Americanizing the people trapped in them.

And with the large-scale migration to America from the Third World over the past few decades, it’s a growing problem. Middle Eastern-style honor killings and other foreign and distasteful practices are on the rise here and are out of control in Europe, where society has utterly failed to assimilate immigrants from non-Western cultures, and lawmakers in America are doing what they can to stop the spread of the practice.

After all, most Americans wouldn’t tolerate the cultural practices of a place like Iran. And a recent case in Texas, where poorly assimilated immigrant family punished a teen daughter who refused an arranged marriage by pouring hot cooking oil all over her, indicates there is a problem with some immigrants and refugees refusing to accept our culture.

America and American states have the right to enforce our societal norms. Forcing teenaged girls into arranged marriages is a practice outside those norms. Across the country new laws are being written to stop that practice. For example, in Florida, Republican Senator Lizabeth Benaquisto authored legislation that was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott recently. In Kentucky, Republican Senator Julie Raque Adams authored legislation that passed both chambers of the legislature there and awaits the governor’s signature. Texas, Virginia, New York and Connecticut have also passed prohibitions of child marriage.

Which brings us to Louisiana, where there is another child marriage bill. But here, the author of the bill is State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans), and like most things Peterson does it’s not quite what it should be.

And like with most things Peterson does, there’s an agenda lurking beneath the surface.

SB 463 carries some language which is supposed to be innocuous – its basic gist is to make 18 the minimum age for marriage – but it’s a time bomb that would utterly destroy Louisiana family law. What might that be?

Check out lines 10-13 of the bill…

Got that? This isn’t a bill to stop child marriage. It’s a bill to redefine Louisiana’s marriage law so as to codify gay marriage.

Peterson could have brought a bill making gay marriage legal in Louisiana and advertising it as such. That bill would have gone nowhere and she knows it. So instead she brings a cynical bill which couches the gay marriage debate in the legitimate and pressing concerns of human trafficking and child abuse.

Just remember that when Peterson, who doesn’t just serve in the Senate and chair the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee but also serves as the chair of the Louisiana Democrat Party, waxes poetic about how she wants to protect young girls with her bill. She doesn’t – she’s trying to pervert the legislative process to fulfill a Hard Left agenda the people of this state have rejected time and again.

The test for this, obviously, will be whether Peterson would agree to strike that change in definition to retain the “between a man and a woman” language and add “at least 18 years of age” as an amendment. It has little chance of surviving a hearing in the Senate’s Judiciary A committee, which has four Republicans and a socially conservative Democrat, John Milkovich, out of its seven members, if she doesn’t.

And it’s our bet she won’t agree to do that, and will instead shelve the bill. And while that’s a good result, it means Louisiana will fall behind other states in updating our marriage laws to enforce American cultural norms and prevent abuse – making this a wasted legislative session on that front.

It’s one thing when the people are cynical about our legislators. In Louisiana that cynicism is justified. It’s another thing when the legislators themselves are cynical about the law. That’s what Peterson has demonstrated time and again.

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