New York Raises Marriage Age...To 17

A New York law that had allowed children at age 14 to marry is now being changed.

The Assembly passed a bill raising the minimum wedding age to 17 and only with both parental and the courts consent.

Director of Sanctuary for Families Judy Harris Kluger says the change is a long time coming.

“Child marriage is a human-rights violation that fosters gender inequality and exploitation and whose victims are three times more likely to suffer domestic violence, are much less likely to complete their education and are not able to bring divorce or annulment in their own names.”

The legislation was sponsored by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and NY state Senator Andrew Lanza.

Paulin says that even with the parental consent, 14-17 year olds were often forced into marriage.

“This practice is a violation of human rights that has consistently had a disproportionately discriminatory effect on young girls, inflicting physical- and mental-health issues, robbing them of educational opportunities, and increasing their risk of experiencing violence.”

State records show that 3,850 children between 14 and 18 were married from 2000 through 2010.

Eighty-four percent were girls, but the two 14-year-olds who married in 2010 were boys.

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