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Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver is warning that should the United States Senate pass H.R. 8404, the so-called “Respect for Marriage Act,” every state will be forced to honor and accept any other state’s definition of marriage.

“Even marriages between young girls and the grown men who raped them,” Staver cautions.

Staver shared the story of Sherry Johnson, who was raped for the first time as a fourth-grade student by a deacon in her mother’s church. An elder at the church began raping her not long after.

When Sherry tried telling her mom, her mother did not believe her. Teachers at the school Sherry attended realized she was pregnant at 10 years old.

“If the U.S. Senate passes H.R. 8404, pedophiles will rejoice because child bride ‘marriages’ will spread across the country,” Staver said.

Iowa Republicans Ashley Hinson and Mariannette Miller-Meeks already voted to approve this bill. Zach Nunn, who is running in Iowa’s Third District, said publicly he would have voted in support as well.

Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst have not indicated which way they’ll vote.

Staver said Sherry’s mom stood up in church one day and said her daughter lied about being raped by the church elders. She blamed Sherry for “bringing shame on the family.” Then she was sent to Miami with one of the men who had been raping her.

When Sherry went into labor, Staver said she was dumped at the hospital.

“The hospital had a lot of questions about a pregnant 10-year-old, let alone one dumped in their maternity ward,” Staver wrote. “Sherry’s mother and the church ‘leadership’ decided that Sherry should marry the pedophile who had impregnated her so the church would not be embarrassed by its leaders going to prison for child rape. Little Sherry was just 11 when she was forced to take vows she did not understand, marrying one of the men who had been raping her for years.”

Just a few more Republican votes in the Senate will allow Democrats to pass the bill.

Jeanne Smooth, senior counsel for policy and strategy at the Tahirih Justice Center, said there is “obvious potential for abuse and exploitation.”

“A whole host of horrors lurk behind a marriage license that involves a child,” she said. “You can be married younger than you can legally consent to sex. So, you put all of this together and you’ve effectively road mapped a way that predators can find a work-around through a marriage to gain sexual access to young girls that would otherwise be prohibited.”

Staver is urging Americans to contact the Senate and encourage a no vote on H.R. 8404.


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