From Conference Minister, Bill Lyons:
Arizona friends, I just sent the following message to Rep. Farnsworth at EFarnsworth@azleg.gov and encourage you to do the same. For background, see the news article, Bill to end child marriage in Arizona faces obstacles.
Dear Representative Farnsworth,
As the spiritual leader of the United Church of Christ in Arizona I am writing to ask you to schedule House bill 2006 for a hearing immediately. Protecting children who are legally below the age to consent to sexual activity deserves priority attention by the House Judiciary and Public Safety Committee. A marriage license should not offer an end run around laws protecting children from sexual abuse.
Jesus took protecting children very seriously when he said, “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes! (Matthew 18:6-7) Your comments when asked about not scheduling this bill for a hearing as reported by AZFamily.com can easily be interpreted as a lack of concern for child wellbeing. Regardless of your personal faith or the political consequences, all bills involving the protection of children deserve at least a hearing before your committee.
Further, I urge you to pass the bill on to the floor of the House for a vote. Kids deserve at least that much from their state legislators.
The Southwest Conference of the United Church of Christ represents 48 local congregations and more than 6,500 members.