Missouri state Sen. Mike Moon (R) went viral earlier this week when he boasted about knowing a 12-year-old girl who got married. “Their marriage is thriving,” he said about the pre-teen bride and her husband.
After getting some negative attention online, though, Moon is now lashing out at Democrats for criticizing him, saying that they are trying to silence his anti-transgender views.
While debating a bill to ban transgender minors from getting age-appropriate gender-affirming care, state Rep. Peter Meredith (D) brought up Moon’s past opposition to raising the minimum age for marriage in the state of Missouri up to age 16.
Moon asked Meredith if he knew anyone who got married at age 12. “I don’t need to,” Meredith responded.
“I do. And guess what? They’re still married,” Moon said smugly.
“Meanwhile, in Missouri: State Senator Mike Moon is advocating for 12 year old kids to be married off to adults,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) tweeted.
While Moon didn’t specify who he thought 12-year-olds should be marrying in the video that went viral, Newsom was discussing the statistical reality.
“Approximately 248,000 children were married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010,” Equality Now notes. “The vast majority were girls wed to adult men, many much older.”
Jess Piper, executive director of Blue Missouri, noted in a response to Moon that over 7,000 teens under the age of 18 got married in her state from 2000 to 2014, and the vast majority were girls. One-third of the marriages involved men between the ages of 20 and 60.
But instead of walking back his comments, Moon doubled down. He attacked Newsom, telling him to “keep your California politics out of Missouri.”
“Democrats will say whatever they can to make sure they can keep mutilating children,” he wrote. Anti-LGBTQ+ advocates and politicians often refer to gender-affirming care as “mutilating children,” even though for most children gender-affirmation involves social transitioning, like using new names, clothes, and pronouns. For teens, it can involve reversible puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapy for older teens. Bottom surgery is not performed on minors and top surgery is rarely performed in some cases on older teens.
Earlier in the week, Moon further discussed the 12-year-old he knew and said that they “impregnated a minor of similar age” and that they got married with their parents’ consent.
“Her parents consented – no force,” he said, even though parents’ consent for gender-affirming care for trans youth wouldn’t matter if this bill he proposed gets passed. “Their marriage is thriving.”