Watch: Missouri Republican defends letting parents marry off 12-year-old kids
Missouri state Senator Mike Moon. (

Missouri State Sen. Mike Moon (R) this week defended the rights of parents to marry off children as young as 12 years old.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that Moon made the remarks during a contentious debate over banning gender-affirming care for transgender minors in which Democratic State Rep. Peter Meredith accused him of hypocrisy for supporting the bill despite positioning himself as a champion of parents' rights.

"I've heard you talk about parents' rights to raise their kids how they want," argued Meredith. "In fact, I just double-checked, you voted no on making it illegal for kids to be married to adults at the age of 12 if their parents consented to it!"

Meredith went on to accuse Moon of making it legal for a 12-year-old to be "raped by an adult" as long as their parents agreed to let it occur, which prompted an angry response from Moon.

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"Do you know any kids who have been married at age 12?" he asked Meredith. "I do. And guess what? They're still married."

As the News-Leader notes, "Moon's support of child marriage in some instances has been long documented," as in the past he has discussed "a couple he met in college who had married one another at age 12."

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