TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A woman who was forced to marry her rapist when she was 11 has helped inspire the Florida Senate pass a bill that would end child marriage in the state.
Sherry Johnson sat in the public gallery Wednesday as several senators thanked her for pushing for the bill that would prohibit anyone under 18 from getting married under any circumstance.
Johnson was raped by a church deacon. She says said her church pressured her mother to consent to the marriage and a judge eventually approved it.
Florida doesn’t allow anyone under the age of 18 to independently consent to marriage. Children aged 16 and 17 can marry with the consent of both children’s parents. But if there’s a pregnancy involved, there is no minimum age for marriage as long as a judge approves the marriage license.