Dating rituals of the united states
[Alabama state official defends Roy Moore, citing Joseph and Mary: ‘They became parents of Jesus’] Every state allows youths under 18 to marry in certain circumstances, such as with parental consent or judicial approval.
More than 167,000 children, of numerous religions, were married in the first decade of this century in the United States, including girls as young as 12.
When Roy Moore, then 34 years old, asked 17-year-old Debbie Wesson Gibson whether she would date him, Gibson asked her mother what she would think. “It’s not so uncommon that people would necessarily look at it askance,” said Nicholas Syrett, a University of Kansas professor who recently published a book on child marriage in America.
According to The Washington Post’s investigation into Moore’s alleged pursuit of teenage girls, which was published Thursday, Gibson’s mother replied, “I’d say you were the luckiest girl in the world.” That attitude of encouraging teenage girls to date older men, rather than shielding girls from men’s advances, sounded familiar to some people who read the Post story that has shaken Moore’s bid for the U. “The South has a much longer history of allowing minors to marry, and obviously there’s some courtship or dating — whatever you want to call it — leading up to that.” That courtship of underage girls is especially common in conservative religious communities.
Brad Wilcox, a sociologist at the University of Virginia who studies marriage and families in the United States, said that while people tended to date and marry younger in the 1970s and 1980s, when Moore allegedly was dating teenagers, an age gap such as that between Moore and the girls would still have been highly unusual.
“In the South, in general, younger marriages would have been more common. teenagers going steady in high school — maybe a year or two or three between him and her,” Wilcox said.
A parent was interested in having her marry and move on.” Even as farm economics became less relevant to most families, Syrett said, the conservative religious emphasis on preventing girls from engaging in sexual activity outside marriage caused the cultural preference for girls’ marrying at a young age to continue.[What it’s like to watch men like Roy Moore as a conservative and a sexual abuse survivor] Ashley Easter, who grew up in a fundamentalist Baptist church where courting was the norm for teenagers, said, “That was the first thing I thought of with Roy Moore.” In her church community in Lynchburg, Va., Easter said, fathers had complete control over whom their daughters were allowed to date, and she could see how a father might set his teen daughter up with a much older man.“A woman’s role is to be a wife, a homemaker and someone who births children.Now, she helps run Courage Conference, a gathering of people who have left abusive religious communities, and listens to the struggles of the women who attend.“Their lives are very difficult now that they’ve gotten free.