State Sen. Mike Moon’s comments about young kids marrying with a parent’s permission have sparked widespread criticism in Missouri and nationally. State Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, pressed Moon during a House committee hearing on Moon’s bill that would ban gender transitions for children.

Video of the interaction has been viewed over one million times. In a follow-up statement, Moon said he has never supported adults marrying minors and he believes rape should be prosecuted.

Senate Majority Leader Cindy O’Laughlin, R-Shelbina, responded to the widespread criticism in a weekly press conference with the Missouri Capitol press corps.

“I think that Senator Moon probably regrets that he made that statement,” she said. “It’s inappropriate to think that a 12-year-old has the maturity to decide to get married, but I also think it’s inappropriate to prescribe mutilating surgeries and hormones to 12-year-olds and, across the country, we don’t see people asking about that. So, I think that’s kind of a hypocrisy. Either one of those things is really inappropriate.”

After the Senate gaveled out for the weekend, Sen. Moon took to social media addressing the situation.

Sen. Moon’s office also sent a statement saying: “Just to clarify, Senator Moon has never supported adults marrying minors. Furthermore, Senator Moon believes rape should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

The House General Laws Committee voted in favor of his bill today. A second House committee could soon review the bill.

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