As a girl growing up in California, Nicole handled pet snakes, bullfrogs and iguanas. She dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. But when she was 16 years old, she says she was pressured to marry a 25-year-old man.
Around the country, teenagers need to be at least 18 to get married on their own. But the laws in every state allow people to marry at younger ages with parental consent, and sometimes, a judge’s approval.
Nicole, who asked to be identified only by her middle name, says her marriage was orchestrated by her late grandmother — who believed a girl’s only purpose was to become a wife and mother. A judge also approved the union.