Have you fallen for MarryOurDaughter yet?
The person I first got the link from did. And while I think I've learned my lesson of taking seemingly whacked religious websites seriously, it has to be admitted that sometimes serious religious websites are kind of whacked.
But this particular website, which advertises teen daughters for marriage sale, is in fact a parody, as confirmed by the NY Times. The perpetrator has played the part on various radio shows recently, and reportedly is getting a ton of irate feedback. Which in itself is basically a good thing. I mean, if there weren't a huge backlash against a service that justifies the selling of daughters into marriage by their parents, I would be more concerned.
Taking MarryOurDaughter on face value, however, misses the underlying point of the site - which is, namely, the possible danger the existing American state laws that allows parents to consent to the marriage of children as young as 12 can cause. Site owner Ordover says in the NYT article: "As far as I can tell, in every state but Oregon, parents can marry off their children." The article points also to the Cornell Law School's table of state marriage laws, which backs up his words. Looking through the table, I noticed that quite a few states - including my own, Ohio - has different ages of consent for males and females, and, without exception, the girls can be married younger.
Maybe the amount of outrage at this site proves that the majority of Americans are horrified at the notion of selling off daughters for a Biblically-based "bride price". But considering this week has marked the beginning of the trial of Warren Jeffs for the alleged coercing of a 14-year-old girl into sex with her 19-year-old cousin and later marriage, maybe it also isn't so incredible to imagine such a thing actually happening. So - is MarryOurDaughter just another tasteless internet prank or a new possible way to build support for a social cause?