New York Lawmakers Push to Overturn Child Marriage

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

New York State lawmakers are pushing legislation that would outlaw child marriage under age 17.

The bill, which passed the Republican-led Senate Tuesday, seeks to overturn a state law that allows 14-year-olds to marry with permission from the parents and the courts and raise the marriage age to 17, the Associated Press reported.

The Democrat-led Assembly will consider the bill next week.

The New York Daily News reports that the Senate passed the legislation in March, but the Assembly wanted to make a few changes to the bill.

Assembly Democrats eventually decided in a closed-door meeting to bring the bill to a Floor vote right before they adjourned for a 12-day recess around Memorial Day.

According to New York State Health Department data, 3,853 children under 18 married in New York from 2000-2010, with most of the marriages being between minor girls and adult men.

Child advocates say New York’s current law can subject minors to forced marriages, human trafficking, sexual abuse, and domestic violence.

The proposed bill would completely outlaw marriage for anyone under 17 and would require children aged 17 to 18 to receive court approval.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said eliminating child marriage would be a priority for the state in February.


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