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Posted at 11:50 AM ET, 12/17/2010

Child marriage bill UPDATE

By Conor Williams

In case you missed it, S. 987 (The International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act) failed to pass last night. Despite unanimously passing the Senate, it only garnered a 241-166 majority in the House. Since House rules were in suspension, the bill needed a two-thirds majority to pass.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who sponsored the bill, had a blunt response in a late-night press release:

The action on the House floor stopping the Child Marriage bill tonight will endanger the lives of millions of women and girls around the world. These young girls, enslaved in marriage, will be brutalized and many will die when their young bodies are torn apart while giving birth. Those who voted to continue this barbaric practice brought shame to Capitol Hill.

His frustration makes sense: the corresponding House Bill had 112 co-sponsors! What the heck happened?

In the hours before the vote, Republicans circulated a memo to pro-life members of Congress alleging that the bill could fund abortions and use child marriage "to overturn pro-life laws." It also reiterated concerns over the bill's cost. When it came time for a vote, a number of the bill's pro-life supporters in both parties abandoned ship. Even co-sponsors of the corresponding House bill (H.R. 2103), like Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Lee Terry (R-Neb.), voted against it. 

Time for the facts. First of all, S. 987 is short--the body of the bill is around ten pages long--and does not mention abortion ("family planning" isn't in there either). A quick read suffices to show that the bill is not dealing with abortion. 

Second, as I noted yesterday, it does not appropriate any additional funding. It requires that the President and the State Department make child marriage a core part of American international development strategy. One more time: this means that this bill can't provide funding for abortion. It's not a appropriations bill. Nonetheless, some Republicans appear determined to showcase their conservative credentials at all costs--even when the facts make it unnecessary, even when the world's most vulnerable children bear the bill.

At this point, the bill's future is uncertain, but the ongoing bizarre misrepresentation of a bill designed to empower young girls and women is the worst sort of political gamesmanship. Why play politics with their lives at stake?

By Conor Williams  | December 17, 2010; 11:50 AM ET
Categories:  Williams  | Tags:  Conor Williams  
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Comments

"SEC. 9. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
To carry out this Act and the amendments made by this Act, there are authorized to be appropriated as such sums as necessary for fiscal years 2010 through 2014."


So, when you say it does not "appropriate any additional funding" tell us how this bill will be funded?

If it doesn't require funding, how will failure of this bill result in the endangerment of "the lives of millions of women and girls around the world" and result in young girls, enslaved in marriage, brutalized with many dying when their young bodies are torn apart while giving birth?

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | December 17, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

The statement "does not appropriate any additional funding." is a bit disingenuous; section 9 clearly states "To carry out this Act and the amendments made by this Act, there are authorized to be appropriated as such sums as necessary for fiscal years 2010 through 2014."
"Such sums as necessary" is a bit scary...who decides what is necessary? What, if any, is the limit?
Those, my Post friends, are the "facts."

Posted by: jmikeskelton | December 17, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

The statement "does not appropriate any additional funding." is a bit disingenuous; section 9 clearly states "To carry out this Act and the amendments made by this Act, there are authorized to be appropriated as such sums as necessary for fiscal years 2010 through 2014."
"Such sums as necessary" is a bit scary...who decides what is necessary? What, if any, is the limit?
Those, my Post friends, are the "facts."

Posted by: jmikeskelton | December 17, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

The statement "does not appropriate any additional funding." is a bit disingenuous; section 9 clearly states "To carry out this Act and the amendments made by this Act, there are authorized to be appropriated as such sums as necessary for fiscal years 2010 through 2014."
"Such sums as necessary" is a bit scary...who decides what is necessary? What, if any, is the limit?
Those, my Post friends, are the "facts."

Posted by: jmikeskelton | December 17, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

We can always depend on Republicans to interject the abortion boogeyman where there is NO abortion.
Why do Republicans LIE?

Posted by: angie12106 | December 17, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

How much more disgusting can the republicans get. As a mother I find it abhorrent the way the republicans throw their "values" around. I've heard nothing but lies, double-standards, and hate from republicans. That is why I am no longer a republican and will never vote republican again if they continue to behave so horribly. First of all, abortion had NOTHING to do with this bill. Secondly, even if the funding wording is "vague" would it matter how much money they spent on making sure children arent subjected to marriage before they are emotionally and physically ready?

Posted by: mom1 | December 17, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Where would the impact of this legislation be felt? Who, from those places, is lobbying to block its passage? Whose idea was it, to introduce the "family planning" and "abortion" mythology into the debate?
--
Or, is this just another GOP tactic to deny this administration a humanitarian victory?

Posted by: OldUncleTom | December 17, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

So, the good old US will prevent child marriage as we define it. Good thing it doesn't include OUR country, most states would be guilty of "child marriage" as defined. Yet, somehow, our young girls are not enslaved and brutalized when marrying younger than 18.

Is it our place to impose American standards on other countries? Please be consistent in your answer.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | December 17, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

So, when you say it does not "appropriate any additional funding" tell us how this bill will be funded?

Posted by: kitchendragon50 |

--


"Such sums as necessary" is standard authorization bill boilerplate. The actual appropriations, if any are necessary, come in the appropriations bill. This is only authorizing language.

If the bill doesn't require funding, then it won't get any later in the appropriations bill.

Posted by: popkultur | December 17, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

These Republicans that blocked the bill are totally assinine.

Posted by: lddoyle2002 | December 17, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

"Governing by ignorance and lies" -- the new Republican motto

Posted by: dl49 | December 17, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

So Republicans are afraid that if this bill passes, a seven year old girl, who is getting forced to be married, might abort herself?

Posted by: pathfinder12 | December 17, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

The Manson/McVeigh/bin Laden wing of the GOP strikes again.

Posted by: kingcranky | December 17, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Teabagger arseclowns (the middle-class Republican base nuts) are some of the dumbest fracking people on the face of the earth.


These Teabag morons are so damn illiterate that they don't have a clue as to how they are nothing more than tools for the corporate oligarchy. I'm willing to bet that everytime one of these rich greedhead Wall Steet types sees one of these middle-class Teabagger dumarses yapping about how gov't jobs, unions, etc are supposedly causing all of this countries financial problems they probably sit back, light up a cigar and laugh their fracking arses off.


And I can't say that I blame them. They probably can't believe their good fortune of actually having these Teabagger inbreeds running around in the streets doing all of their dirty work for them.


.

Posted by: DrainYou | December 17, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Williams wastes a valuable opportunity to describe exactly how the bill would protect these girls; instead, he throws off the focus by mistakenly claiming that the bill would cost no money at all. This provides perfect ammunition (as well as a forum) to the misguided zealots who seek rationalizations for their opposition to anything that deals with the marital and reproductive rights of women and girls. I expect better writing from the Post.

Posted by: CalDreamer | December 17, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I can fault the Republicans for many things, but Marcie Kaptur is a Democrat.

Posted by: gboesky | December 17, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

It seems like all the people quoting the "such sums" is looking at the wrong version of the bill.

The version of the bill that passed the Senate is S. 987 and does not include such sums language. That means that whatever activities authorized by the bill come out of EXISTING FUNDS for health, education, economic development etc, because those countries where girls are forced into marriage will never succeed and our investments in those countries will not be as effective UNLESS this issue is also addressed.

People are so quick to try to call Conor out as if he is misleading you into believing that girls were given the short end of the stick by Republican leadership last night - he is not only right, but because of this, girls are literally going to die, so shame on them for politicizing this issue the way they did.

Senate Republicans joined in support of this issue, House Republicans looked for a way to divide everyone on this issue, including by conjuring up lies at the last minute to derail the bill.

This is a nice preview for whats in store for women and girls in the 112th Congress -both here in the US and abroad.

Posted by: Irate2 | December 17, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

The DixieKans can't stop loving Jerry Lee Lewis & his 13 yo brides.

Posted by: nyer11 | December 17, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Just say the word "abortion" and all the Republicans sit up and take notice of what they are dictated to do by the ultra conservative part of their party.

This bill had nothing to do with abortion.

What a bunch of IGNORANT AND PROUD OF IT lemmings the Republicans are.

Posted by: janye1 | December 17, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

"Wellll, just cuz it doesn't specifically say doesn't mean it wasn't part of the original intent of the author(s)." Yeah, like we can't see that train wreck coming down the tracks in the future. Good work voting this one down. The U.S. Congress is not responsible for any deaths due to child-marriage in Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe, or anywhere else that isn't sovereign U.S. soil. Put that in your medical marijuana pipe and smoke it. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Posted by: LieToMe | December 17, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what is meant here by "child marriage." I know that Muslim men "marry" girls a young as 5 years old. Is that what it's intended to prevent?

Posted by: knightoneday | December 17, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what is meant here by "child marriage." I know that Muslim men "marry" girls a young as 5 years old. Is that what it's intended to prevent?

Posted by: knightoneday | December 17, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

The moral is that it doesn't matter whether congressional bills are posted online for everyone to read before a vote because even some legislators (apparently House Republicans especially) aren't going to read them.

In related news, Bill Gates is giving his money away to everyone who sends a forward. It was on Good Morning America. You can look it up...
lol

Posted by: nfh0012 | December 17, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Why would Republicans pass a law that threatens they number by stopping their inbred teabagger cousins of Fred Phelps from knocking up their underage relatives?

Posted by: areyousaying | December 17, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans just can't help it, can they?

Posted by: SageThrasher | December 17, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I saw the impact of "child marriages" (“cast into slavery” would be a better term)while serving in Ethiopia. Girls married off at 13, impregnated, enduring 2 WEEKS of labor, to deliver a dead child. THEN, ostracized by the father’s family when complications cause loss of bowel and bladder control to become beggars and DIE.
If the Republican’s can’t stop whining and pouting to find any excuse for their self-serving partisanship, may God have mercy on their worthless, selfish souls. It is a form of man-slaughter (actually “child”-slaughter) to abet these practices. Are your values really such that you say “BETTER FOR YOUNG GIRLS AND THEIR BABIES TO DIE THAN TO LOSE A CHANCE TO LIE ABOUT ABORTION AND APPROPRIATIONS”? What kind of values do you stand for!

Posted by: rian1 | December 17, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Irate2

This is a nice preview for whats in store for women and girls in the 112th Congress -both here in the US and abroad.

SO, the amercian taxpayr has to pay for gender specific international aid? What are we doing for dong for yong boys in this world? If you feel strongly about only young women, then donate...

Posted by: mark0004 | December 17, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Pure evil.

The Republican Party is evil. No beating around the bush. Using abortion as the excuse to reject this bill is literally the most disgusting thing I've seen -- well, I was going to say the most disgusting thing I've ever seen, but rejecting the 9/11 Responder bill was just as disgusting.

So sad and disgusting what the GOP has done to America. And shame on every single GOP voter for allowing themselves to be brainwashed by these political vermin.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 17, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Irate2

This is a nice preview for whats in store for women and girls in the 112th Congress -both here in the US and abroad.

SO, the amercian taxpayer has to pay for gender specific international aid? What are we doing for yong boys in this world? Or are they not good enough to receive our attention? If you feel strongly about only young women, then donate...

Posted by: mark0004 | December 17, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

"The action on the House floor stopping the Child Marriage bill tonight will endanger the lives of millions of women and girls around the world."


Why is the US trying to enact legislation that affects women in other countries?

Posted by: momof20yo | December 17, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

dl49

New?!

Posted by: veritasinmedium | December 17, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

It seems the Republicans have become even more pathetic in their excuses.
Do Not have these people run the country.

Posted by: kacameron | December 17, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Why shouldn't the US enact legislation that affects OUR actions in relations with other countries? momof20yo sounds like the people of the 1930's who couldn't see past the nose on their own face. Just substitute Jews for women back then and you can see the outcome when the US stands by as groups of people are abused in other countries.

Posted by: washpost45 | December 17, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

As a Conservative, I refuse to allow facts to stand in the way of my beliefs.

Posted by: woody3691 | December 17, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I think they must have thought that an anti child marriage bill was secret commie pinko code for a pro gay marriage one...

Posted by: ozpunk | December 17, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

no doubt the gop was worried that the mormons wouldn't like this bill... after all it stops girls being forced to marry.

Posted by: newagent99 | December 17, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

More GOP misrepresentation and governance by fear - business as usual.

Posted by: apn3206 | December 17, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

The antichristian right at it again, where does it say anything about abortion. I guess they are all Mormons now.

Posted by: audrey2010 | December 17, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Nitwits that YOU elected and there are more on the way. CHEERS!

Posted by: whocares666 | December 17, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

The American Citizen deserve what they will get in the coming months ahead. The immoral Republican party got the country in the todays mess, and now they refuse to support such a bill. Well they are keeping their promise to vote NO, unless it is abill they spondered. Their Racist attitude will comtinue to destroy the USA, while other foreign countries are laughing at them.

Posted by: SteveLC | December 17, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

As they say in the intelligence business, garbage in, garbage out. We continue to expect too much from our elected representatives. They are doing the best they can.

Posted by: NewThoughts | December 17, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Folks, the Republicans don't care. So what if young women will die, they must deserve it. All the Republicans want to do is pander to the religious right nuts. Oh, and maybe somehow stick it to Obama.

Posted by: lowercaselarry | December 17, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to have to wait for more sources to report on this one, because the whole picture probably isn't being represented in this article.

Posted by: moebius22 | December 17, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

"At this point, the bill's future is uncertain, but the ongoing bizarre misrepresentation of a bill designed to empower young girls and women is the worst sort of political gamesmanship. Why play politics with their lives at stake?"
--------------------------------------
Conor: You could apply this statement (with only minor modifications) to the health care bill, war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Wall Street regulation. The Republicans have their "centerpiece" - the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy extended for two years. Now the only items on their agenda are to destroy the Obama Presidency and regain power; no matter what the effect on our Nation and its' citizens.

They live in their own little Beltway world where politics is king.

Posted by: shadowmagician | December 17, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Guess Republicans like those "young girls". Probably too many of them have a "conflict of interest" with the provisions of the bill.

Posted by: pjohn2 | December 17, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

More proof that Republicans are pro-life until birth. They never support any bill that helps anyone who's not rich.
Republi-Tea-tards are disgusting and greedy,

Posted by: libertyanne | December 17, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

I usually hate the very ground the Republicans walk on, but I agree with killing this bill. I can't see why we should interfere with how foreigners conduct their affairs in their homelands. As far as I am concerned it's not our task to bring the uncivilized up to Western standards as long as they don't indulge in their retrograde and primitive practices in our country. For all I care, the Moslems can marry babies or eat each other alive, fried, boiled, or poached. We have enough problems to occupy us and don't need to stick our noses into the affairs of savages in their own countries.

Posted by: 7891 | December 17, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Yes, we can now watch in disbelief as the GOP embraces child rape as one of it's supposed family values, and that is exactly what they have done. The gutless Democrats need to put aside their bipartisanship fantasies and call this nauseating act by the Republicans, in no uncertain terms, the national disgrace that it is.

This comes on the heels of the Republicans spitting on the 9-11 first responders after hypocritically exploiting their courage and heroism for the past nine years.

The Republicans, the party of "NO to ending child marraige and child rape and NO to helping the 9-11 first responders".

Posted by: toc59 | December 17, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

What is this??? We are, once again, trying to legislate our concept of morality on a culture and society far different from ours. Who the hell are we do even think about doing this??

Posted by: shep8851 | December 17, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

the Party of Values stops short at caring for women and girls.

Posted by: sarahabc | December 17, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

I agree with shep8851,,,read the bill folks. What supercelious baloney, and why was an attempt to pass it made at the last minute of a lame duck session.

1. Arranged marriages are the cultural norm for many nations (including China and India). Its worked for them for thousands of years, and the language of the bill slams this cultural difference. Well,,,how is marriage working out in western culture? In the western culture, we have astronomical divorce rates; serial marriages; murders over divorce terms; child custody fights that make the headline news.... So who are we to tell the rest of the world what marriage is supposed to be.
2. Child marriages cause great harm to young girls, but it is allowable within the Muslim faith of Islam. Do we get to tell other nations what their faith should be?
3. India has laws against child marriage; against dowries; against murdering brides that disappoint....and their society ignores these laws and continues. Do you think that India will start obeying its own laws if the U.S. Congress suddenly says they better start behaving???
4. This creates another federal government social program. It authorizes the President and the State Department to use federal funds for international schools, etc., including funneling these funds through faith based organizations.
We can't pay our teachers now right here in the USA. Thousands of teachers are being laid off. Schools have no money for textbooks or supplies. And this law would give US taxpayer dollars to fund new schools throughout the world.

We simply do not have the money to do this.
Its a lame piece of legislation, and I'm glad it was stopped in its tracks. If people are opposed to child marriages, get involved in a charity that can change the hearts and minds of these nations. Good luck trying. China will laugh at us.

Posted by: AnnsThought | December 17, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

AnnsThought pretty much summed it up.

Posted by: moebius22 | December 17, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

For you men, your opinion opposing this legislation leads this old woman to believe that you know little about woman...and care about their health and welfare even less. As a woman, a mom and a grandmom, that really upsets me.

For the women to see nothing wrong with child marriage,I have to wonder about your morals and values. Would you really want your daughters and grand-daughters married at 13 or 14 or 15 or 16? My heavens, those girls are still children!! They've not yet finished school yet alone had time to figure our who they are and what they want out of life.

Child marriage for girls is medieval...or worse. My youngest daughter served three years in Niger with the Peace Corp. She saw young girls being married off at 13 all the time. More than 50% of those girls died in childbirth before they were 15.

Imagine your daughter dying at 15. Never seeing her beautiful face again. Never holding her close to you again. Never seeing her bright shining eyes and her loving smile again.

Are you really so cold and heartless?

Posted by: valkayec | December 17, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

No one is keeping you from risking your life overseas, or donating money to the multitude of causes out there targeting this issue valkayec.

Posted by: moebius22 | December 17, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

valkayec, It is horrible that young 12 and 13 year old girls are forced into marriage; but talk to an anthropologist about all the harm that has been caused by the good intentions of missionaries and aid workers. Westerners can't even manage to donate water wells without damaging villages.

Posted by: AnnsThought | December 17, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Face it the Republicans just don't care about female life.

And as far as commenting on funding, the Republicans just blackmailed the country into a 900 billion dollar addtion to the deficit. And that was just to keep own their congressional leaders and corporate owners from paying additional taxes.

So drop any complaints about increases in funding. That dog won't hunt!.

Posted by: JohninConnecticut | December 17, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

If anything it just proves more and more that Republican's; especially, the men are just despicable human beings.

Anyone who refuses to protect little girls from the sexual molestation and rape of young girls and women for their own self pleasures are just down right despicable human beings; and their excuses are just another way of covering and protecting their perverted behaviors & mentalities.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | December 17, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Crack reporting as usual at the WP. Think maybe getting the opinion of those that abandoned the bill as to why? Open ended funding provisions are there and whenever you complain about the horrors of childbirth, that means abortions for all. We know your game better than you do. Look beyond the title of bills and get real on what they do to change lives, for better or worse. And all the little sheeple chime in to support your weak hearted analysis. Grow up!

Posted by: Sarah2012 | December 17, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

What this shows is that we want to control undesireable practices in other countries while we can't control undesireable practices in our own country.

Typical hypocricy.

Posted by: JackDixon | December 17, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Teabagger arseclowns (the middle-class Republican base nuts) are some of the dumbest fracking people on the face of the earth.


These Teabag morons are so damn illiterate that they don't have a clue as to how they are nothing more than tools for the corporate oligarchy. I'm willing to bet that everytime one of these rich greedhead Wall Steet types sees one of these middle-class Teabagger dumarses yapping about how gov't jobs, unions, etc are supposedly causing all of this countries financial problems they probably sit back, light up a cigar and laugh their fracking arses off.


And I can't say that I blame them. They probably can't believe their good fortune of actually having these Teabagger inbreeds running around in the streets doing all of their dirty work for them.


.

Posted by: DrainYou | December 17, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse


I hope you realize that the TEA Party members who were elected in the last election haven't even taken office as of yet. Your post reeks of ignorance.

Posted by: gfafblifr | December 17, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Teabagger arseclowns (the middle-class Republican base nuts) are some of the dumbest fracking people on the face of the earth.


These Teabag morons are so damn illiterate that they don't have a clue as to how they are nothing more than tools for the corporate oligarchy. I'm willing to bet that everytime one of these rich greedhead Wall Steet types sees one of these middle-class Teabagger dumarses yapping about how gov't jobs, unions, etc are supposedly causing all of this countries financial problems they probably sit back, light up a cigar and laugh their fracking arses off.


And I can't say that I blame them. They probably can't believe their good fortune of actually having these Teabagger inbreeds running around in the streets doing all of their dirty work for them.


.

Posted by: DrainYou | December 17, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse


I hope you realize that the TEA Party members who were elected in the last election haven't even taken office as of yet. Your post reeks of ignorance.

~~~~

And, I hope you realize that before they starting calling themselves the Tea Party, they where and are still the "Republican base nuts" of the Republican Party with a new name of course.

In other words, the Tea Party folks didn't just appear on planet earth from out of thin air.

See, it's your post that really reeks of ignorance.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | December 17, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Ileana Ros Lehtinen R Florida should be ashamed of herself. Her husband Dexter a former US Attorney was caught with three(3) Dominican young ladies of the evening. Her being of politics first and a likely lesbian did nothing but try and sweep his indiscretions under the table. If she allows her husband to take advantage of underage poor women in the Caribbean why should we think she cares about young women who are terrorized by morally bankrupted men like her husband Dexter around the world. shame on you Ileana and your crater faced deviant husband.

Posted by: jbento | December 17, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

I am against butting our noses into other countries business, as I still feel we should have not gone into Iraq, but I disapprove of the method in which the GOP went about killing the bill. Dishonesty is to be abhorred, and especially from our elected officials. This "Must win at any cost" attitude of our elected officials is very troubling to me. There are ways to try and effect our views on other countries without legislation, and I am very much against child marriage, but I believe a simple statement from our government would have as much effect as legislation, perhaps even more. I would recommend getting our own house in order, before we start throwing money at other folk's "problems".

Posted by: Confido | December 17, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

A few quick thoughts before bed:

1) The bill will use money that is already appropriated. This adds nothing more to the deficit. Voting down this bill will not "un-appropriate" this money. In other words, the time to vote down these appropriations has already passed.

2) The bill asks the President and State to commit existing foreign development aid resources to combat child marriage. Additional funds could be appropriated later, at Congress' discretion. Voting down this bill does not mean that Congress is done appropriating new money. In other words, the time to vote down future appropriations has not yet arrived.

3) A lot of commenters have worried that this bill would attempt to impose American/Western cultural norms on developing nations. This is true, of course, on some superficial level. Monogamy chosen freely by mature adults is a modern Western institution (or "value," if you prefer).

If you'd rather not defend this as absolutely morally worthwhile when compared with other traditional forms of marriage, you could still consider Desmond Tutu's argument (Dec. 5 column in the Post, with Mary Robinson). He argues—as do many others—that decreases in child marriage are linked to numerous increases in other positive demographics. In his words, "Child marriage is just one factor in the lives of many girls and women, but it affects not just their health, education and employment options but also the welfare of their communities. We know that empowering girls is one of the most effective ways to improve the health and prosperity of societies."

Want to fight poverty? Hunger? HIV/AIDS? Domestic abuse? Poor maternal health conditions? High risks of complications during pregnancy?

Work to end child marriage.

Posted by: conorpwilliams | December 18, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

That's nothing. My local city council in Florida refused to pass a resolution condemning selling kittens for meat in China.

I'm amazed that some of the same people who love to describe the U.S. as imperialistic and criticize it for forcing its culture on other countries are the SAME people currently excoriating anyone who didn't vote to pass this bill, and ASSUMING (without asking, mind you) that it must be because of some tenuous link to abortion.

I don't know what's more disturbing: the pathetic lack of preparation in this article, or the sheep who just take what is fed to them ("Hate the GOP, it's all their fault, don't actually try to find out if there's another side to the argument or something you might not be aware of that would explain why they acted the way they did") and regurgitate it.

For the record I am not a republican.

Posted by: KatieWash | December 18, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Conor Williams has presented one-side and possibly some personal agenda into his column.
It would be more interesting to hear the "other side" from those who voted against this bill, particularly the Democrats, since so many posters resort to name-calling and empty accusations against target Republicans.

Let's hear the defense. The column would have some credibility if there were some reference to specifics and reasons for the "no" votes.
The one-sidedness of Mr. Williams is highly suspect.

Posted by: pjcafe | December 18, 2010 1:45 AM | Report abuse


If you don't have health insurance and get sick, the tax payers have to pay for it anyway- so go get health insurance please- search online "Wise Health Insurance" and learn how you can get insurance at discount price.

Posted by: juanreeyes | December 18, 2010 3:12 AM | Report abuse

Lot's of ranting but no information on what the bill actually does.......useless twit of a writer. I might agree with him if I knew what he was on about.

Posted by: buggerianpaisley1 | December 18, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Using the links the writer of this article provided I found the following:

The Senate version (S. 987) which passed) of the Bill had no appropriations included in it - but the House version does (which failed) ....


H.R. 2103 SEC. 9. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

To carry out this Act and the amendments made by this Act, there are authorized to be appropriated as such sums as necessary for fiscal years 2010 through 2014.

So, unless the version the House voted on yesterday was revised and did not include SEC 9 - then the author has not quite told the whole truth.....



Posted by: LMW6 | December 18, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

The republicans voted no just to appease the Mormons.

Posted by: WDRussell | December 18, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

The republicans voted no just to appease the Mormons.

Posted by: WDRussell | December 18, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the comments are against change, rather they are opposed to the proposed method to create change. The President and the State Department would be able to promise money, or withhold money. In other words, they would yield a big stick to try and change cultures and religious beliefs. That doesn't work.

Look how long it has taken for women's rights to change in the USA. 100 years ago, women couldn't vote. Only 40 years ago, women weren't accepted into many professional fields. They could get the college degree, and the best job they could get was office secretary. Look at how our own culture resisted the women's movement.

Posted by: AnnsThought | December 18, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Republicans: There is ABORTION happening in Afghanistan!!!!! There, I have been wondering how we can get out of this war (with Republicans wanting us to stay forever) and that should do it. Everytime they hear abortion they freak out.

Posted by: pgmichigan | December 18, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

It never ceases to amaze me how these old white men never miss a chance to defend the life of the unborn........bull. They jump on any band wagon to keep their jobs regardless of the impact it will have. In this country we discourage, if not outright ban it, child marriages/unions. If it were their child being talked about here you have to wonder what the vote would have been.

Posted by: Reynolds51 | December 18, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

"...when the world's most vulnerable children bear the bill."

Yeah, but they're just girl children so who cares?

Posted by: edismae | December 18, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

For those asking for more details, I found them here: http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/12/17/how_ileana_ros_lehtinen_killed_the_bill_to_prevent_forced_child_marriages

and here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/17/house-republicans-block-child-marriage-prevention-act_n_798382.html

Posted by: Irate2 | December 18, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"Open ended funding provisions are there and whenever you complain about the horrors of childbirth, that means abortions for all. We know your game better than you do. Look beyond the title of bills and get real on what they do to change lives, for better or worse. And all the little sheeple chime in to support your weak hearted analysis. Grow up!
Posted by: Sarah2012 | December 17, 2010 10:32 PM"

And the real agenda of the knuckle-dragging forced-breeder crowd is to imprison or execute women who undergo abortions, even medically-necessary ones.

Anyone using the online ID of "Sarah2012" is the last person who should ever use the phrase "little sheeple" unless describing themselves.

Posted by: kingcranky | December 18, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

When it is obvious many POSTERS have NOT READ the bill, how can you call anyone "dumb" or use other disparaging language. It only makes you come across as dumb and dumber!!

I am glad republicans and dems voted against this bill as it DOES allow for spending (approprations) it just does not say how much. Maybe the senators read it after they voted for.

The House will have a republican majority on Jan 3. The VOTERS voted FOR them Get used to it!!!

Posted by: annnort | December 18, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I want to know when our Congress is going to mind their own business and take care of what needs to be taken care of in this country? They need to do what is necessary in this country because if they don't and we fall apart, as is now happening, who will give a darn about the rest of the world!!!

Posted by: FriggyFrogFan | December 18, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

What a relief that the American people want our legislators to get involved in the childrearing practices of other countries, we are doing such a great job here with our teen abortions, teenage pregnancies, unwed teen moms, high illiteracy and incarceration rates. People in glass houses.

Posted by: Carli2010 | December 18, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Who Cares about the particulars? If it will save the lives of any human then we should do it. What is wrong with you people?

Posted by: ObservantOne | December 18, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Shameful. Spineless, ignorant politicians allowing themselves to be lied to, misled, and coerced by the pathological liars in the social conservative movement.

Posted by: wireknob | December 18, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans can give away billions in tax breaks to the wealthiest 3/10ths of one percent (1/4 of the cost of the Tax Compromise bill goes to these rich freeloaders!) but, "Hey, let's worry about a few bucks to prevent little girls from being married off and leading a life of misery!!" So typically cold-blooded and Republican.By God, but they are vile people!

Posted by: blosmurph | December 18, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

The article is long on analysis and very short on facts. Moreover, from the facts that seem to have appeared in the comments, it seems like some of the analysis in the article may be a bit misleading.

Now, now... the Post wouldn't be manipulating the evidence to push a political agenda, would it?

For the rest of you, there were more than enough democrats to pass this bill, if that's what they wanted to do.

I'd have been interested to see a fair presentation of both sides of this, but that's probably an awful lot to ask of a WaPo lib.

Posted by: morganfrost | December 18, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

There is no funding for this bill:

"In fact, S. 987 is an authorizing bill and contains no new funding. Rather, the bill was purposefully crafted to make the most effective use of existing U.S. international assistance by ensuring effective coordination among various development efforts.
it seeks to ensure that our policies and funding are comprehensive, coordinated, and have the maximum effectiveness in ending a serious violation of human rights while promoting development goals on which we have labored for decades." http://tinyurl.com/24b8dgh

Maybe a little research would help all the commenter's who appear to have a vendetta against woman. This is not about the US. It is about supporting human rights for women internationally.

I swear, some of you people actually make me sick.

Posted by: Realitycheck6 | December 19, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

The GOP is disgusting. Womens issues are not an issue with them, except to prevent abortions. They are nothing but talk on childrens issues also. They should be ashamed.

Posted by: jckdoors | December 20, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"Why play politics with their lives at stake?"

Seriously, when did that ever stop the GOP?

Posted by: ArtPepper | December 20, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

You don't have to be a democrat (I'm not) to side against the Republicans. This is not a choice about political beliefs; this is one about conscience.

Posted by: ChinaSingaporeUS | December 20, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Girls should be married at puberty (usually age 12, 13, 14).
Anyone who bans the marraige of such young women to men should be killed.
The denial of marraige is a doctrine of demons.

--MikeeUSA--

Posted by: mikeeusa | December 22, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

The Bible supports marrying females off young, once their breasts begin (seen in the psalms) to grow or once hair grows on their pubic region: beginning of puberty. This can _biologically_ happen anywhere from as young as 9 up to age 14, usually it's about age 11, 12. The girls are usually having children beginning at age 12 to 14, but sometimes at a lower age aswell. This is Biological fact. This is when the Bible says girls are to be married to men. You would have men castrated for "child sexual abuse". The Bible has them married to men once they would be good wives to men, you deny men these marraiges to sweet young women, who would be docile helpers for a man their whole lives, your doctrine is that of demons.

Thirdly the father can and does force their daughter to marry a man in the Bible, he can also sell her off. You would call the marraige here rape and have the man castrated. You would also castrate men who rape their wives (this is a man's right). You are completely against patriarchy and God's order and you SHOULD be killed. Everyone who agrees with you and implements your anti-man evil ways should be executed. You are sick and you have destroyed the ability for men to be happily married in the west.

The best marriages are of older men (30+) to young virgins (12, 13, 14), for the man. That is a fact. You and yours destroyed the best thing in life for men and you should be killed for it.

Death To women's Rights.
Viva Men's liberties.
--MikeeUSA--

Posted by: mikeeusa | December 23, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

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