New York to become 6th state to ban child marriage in the United States
NEW YORK (Gray News) - New York is taking a stance against child marriage by raising the age of consent to 18.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed a bill Thursday that prohibits any marriage in which either party is under the age of 18.
This legislation will make New York the sixth state to ban child marriage in the United States.
“Children should be allowed to live their childhood, and I thank the many legislators and advocates who worked diligently to advance this measure and further prevent forced marriages in this state,” Cuomo said in a news release.
A recent study conducted by Unchained At Last, an organization dedicated to ending forced and child marriage, shows that “nearly 300,000 minors were legally married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2018.”
“The cruel and callous practice of child marriage has traumatized too many children to count,” said Assembly member Phil Ramos in a statement.
According to the study, nearly all the girls were 16 or 17 and wed to adult men an average of four years older, but a few girls were as young as 10.
Unchained At Last explains that there is almost nothing a girl under 18 can do to escape a forced marriage. They typically can’t leave home, enter a domestic violence shelter or file for divorce – leaving her stuck.
“Regardless of maturity level, minors lack sufficient legal rights and autonomy that they need to protect them if they enter a marriage contract before becoming adults,” said state Sen. Julia Salazar in a statement.
Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Rhode Island and New York have passed legislation to end all marriage before 18, according to the report.
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