“I was SO scared getting married so young, but my husband is an okay guy and I am SO proud that because of me my parents were able to get their first brand-new car and take the trip they always wanted to. I couldn’t have done it without your site!"
—Katrina K., married at 14
At 14 years of age, Katrina K may hardly know what’s best for her, let alone her parents. And a look at the reasons suggests abject poverty and/or utter ignorance. Coming from a country like the US, it’s even more shocking. This ‘testimonial’ was found on a website called Marry Our Daughter that lists mostly under-18 girls for marriage with the consent of the parents. And how is that possible? The FAQ section on the site explains it (also tells us who runs this nonsense):
Q: IS YOUR SERVICE LEGAL?
A: Absolutely. Within the United States girls can marry as young as 13 years old with parental permission, and the Bride Price is a custom of long standing, mentioned many times in the Bible, and as such is a protected religious practice. Click HERE for a listing of the age limits and legal requirements in various states. Click HERE for what the Bible says on Bride Price.
And you thought India was regressive. But what is a mail-order bride? Wikipedia answers:
Historically, mail-order brides were women who listed themselves in catalogs and were selected by men for marriage, often with little or no communication between them prior to their first meeting. Sometimes the men and women involved were citizens of different countries, e.g. women from European countries moving to the United States during the 18th and 19th centuries, and sometimes they involved citizens of the same country. Today, most of the women referred to as mail-order brides list themselves on the internet and communicate regularly with their intended husband prior to marriage.
Arranged marriages in India have been around for a very long time. And while we believe there is a certain sanctity to the entire procedure, the growing popularity of marriage websites suggests that this activity is no different from that going on in India. But there is definitely no underage marriages going on as far as I know (through the websites, that is). And the prices make this simply appalling. The explanation:
Q: WHAT IS A BRIDE PRICE?
A: The bride price is an ancient custom, somewhat like a dowry. A man wishing to marry a woman would offer her family a Bride Price in cash or kind, or sometimes offer to work for their family.
Thankfully, the tips on how to propose tell the suitors not to propose to more than one ‘daughter’:
To propose to one of Our Daughters, just click on Propose on her listing and you will be directed to our proposal form. Please do not propose to multiple Daughters or you risk having all your proposals disqualified.
And to answer the question what I was doing on the site, I discovered it by accident through Digg.com.