Missouri Republican who wants to ban trans healthcare defends 12-year-olds being married

“Do you know any kids who have been married at age 12? I do. Guess what? They’re still married," Mike Moon says

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Staff Writer

Published April 14, 2023 11:56AM (EDT)

Wedding Rings (Getty Images /	Bartosz Michalski / EyeEm)
Wedding Rings (Getty Images / Bartosz Michalski / EyeEm)

Republican Missouri state Rep. Mike Moon, on Tuesday defended child marriage while advancing legislation that would ban gender-affirming healthcare for minors.

During Tuesday's testimony in the House General Laws Committee over Moon's bill to ban people under age of 18 from receiving "gender transition procedures," Democratic state Rep. Peter Meredith pressed Moon over why he'd previously voted against making it illegal for children to marry adults at the age at 12 if they obtained parental consent.

"Do you know any kids who have been married at age 12?" Moon replied. "I do. And guess what? They're still married."

The Kansas City Star reported that Moon was attempting to qualify his proposed legislation, which has drawn sharp criticism from the LGBTQ+ community and its allies, as a method of shielding children. 

"Holy shit," wrote progressive political host Brian Tyler Cohen. "A Democrat just called out Missouri Sen. Mike Moon (R) for voting against a bill that would ban adults marrying 12-year-olds & the Republican doubled down."


"The fact that Missouri Senator Mike Moon said that 12 year olds can be married off to adults just sickens me," tweeted Jess Piper, executive director of Blue Missouri. "My daughter is nearly 11 and still plays with Barbies and her baby dolls. We are living in a hellscape in Missouri under a GOP supermajority."

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Moon released a video Thursday in light of the criticism he received, attempting to clear up "confusion" around his stance.

"Democrats are desperately trying to discredit my name and reputation to keep this important legislation from passing in Missouri," Moon said. "Let me set the record straight: I do not support adults marrying minors."

He asserted that rapists should be prosecuted "to the full extent of the law," before doubling down on his argument that he knows a couple that married as pre-teens after the girl got married. "Tragic circumstances such as these can only be overcome through one avenue, the grace and mercy of God and the word of the Lord," Moon said.

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Gabriella Ferrigine is a staff writer at Salon. Originally from the Jersey Shore, she moved to New York City in 2016 to attend Columbia University, where she received her B.A. in English and M.A. in American Studies. Formerly a staff writer at NowThis News, she has an M.A. in Magazine Journalism from NYU and was previously a news fellow at Salon.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Brief Child Marriage Lgbtq Mike Moon Politics