When she was 17, Cassandra Levesque was a girl scout advocating the end of child marriage in New Hampshire, where at the time it was legal to marry a 13-year-old girl. She wasn’t able to get that rule changed, but she’s found a new way to amplify her voice. She was just elected to the state legislature herself.
Back before she was able to run for office, Levesque had asked her local representative about changing the archaic law and protecting young kids. But that official was brushed aside by a colleague, David Bates, who said he did so “on the basis of a request from a minor doing a Girl Scout project.”
… Ms. Levesque (pronounced le-VECK), now 19 and a Democrat, became one of a group of young people across the country who were elected to office for the first time this year. Some said they were galvanized by opposition to President Trump’s policies and a desire to push the Democratic Party to the left. Others were more focused on local issues, such as education, or said they sought to get other young people civically involved.
Regardless of the individual reasons for running, it’s refreshing to see more young people getting involved in politics — or, really, just more people getting involved because they want to use government to enact progressive changes.This particular case is just incredible; just two years after being ignored by state politicians, Levesque is now one of them.
While Levesque may not have been directly responsible for the end of child marriage in New Hampshire, the state did recently increase the required age for marriage. That happened earlier this year, before she was elected but after her brave campaign.
State law allows girls as young as 13 and boys as young as 14 to get married with the permission of a judge and their parents. But this week, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill into law that raises that age to 16 starting in 2019.
Cassandra Levesque, 19, a former Girl Scout, spent last session urging state lawmakers to raise the marriage age to 18. The measure failed to pass after opponents said judges should be able to approve young marriages in exceptional circumstances, such as a pregnancy or someone joining the military.
I don’t think the law would have changed if not for Levesque’s activism. And now she’ll have the power to push for changes without having to go through other people.
(Image via Facebook)