Republican states have much more lenient laws when it comes to allowing children to marry adults. Every year, about 16,500 children are married, and an estimated 3,000+ of those marriages directly contradict anti-pedophilia laws.
Think I'm exaggerating? In Alabama, a 74-year-old man married a 14-year-old girl. In Idaho, a 65-year-old man married a 17-year-old girl. Over the past 23 years, there have been three 10-year-old girls in Tennessee who have been married to men 24, 25, and 31 years old. These are not isolated incidents.
Worse yet, once married, most of these children cannot get a divorce without an adult's permission. It's a horrific situation that should be condemned by anyone who cares about the welfare of children.
Out newsletter is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
And yet, when it comes to these same children getting gender-affirming medical treatment, Republicans suddenly seem to care. They think it should be outlawed for anyone under the age of 18 to receive puberty blockers (despite the fact that these treatments have little-to-no long-term side effects in most cases) or hormone therapy, .
Each year, about 35,000 children under 17 are diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Of those 35,000, only about 1,000 take puberty blockers and about 3,500 begin hormone therapy (about 10%). And fewer than 20 children per year have genital surgery (which for the record, I personally believe should wait until adulthood). But still, Republicans claim that they are against gender-affirming care because they "care about the kids."
My theory is that Republicans don't actually care about these children at all. They only care about using them as political pawns. After all, gender-affirming care potentially saves hundreds of children's lives. Studies show that those who begin gender-affirming care see huge reductions in suicidal thoughts and suicide. And yet, Republicans are more focused on preventing these treatments than they are on protecting children from state-endorsed pedophilia.
Dear Republicans, please stop putting your focus on treatment that results in children feeling better about themselves, and start focusing on state-endorsed pedophilia that is just pure disgusting and wrong. It's time to protect our children from harm, not use them as political pawns.