Today Governor Cuomo signed a bill into law that makes huge strides in preventing childhood marriage. The law prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from getting married in the state of New York.

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According to News 10, the new law expands on the 2017 legislation that raised the age of consent from 14 to 18, but allowed parental or judicial consent at the age of 17.

Marriage is a legal contract and the law acknowledges that children under the age of 18 do not have the mental, nor legal maturity to enter into such a contract.

Senator Julia Salazar was a sponsor of the bill. She said, “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.” She acknowledged that the majority of the children who enter into marriage before adulthood were girls.

The bill that was signed into law today ends the horrendous practice of child marriage in New York. Governor Cuomo is proud of the law and he said, “This administration fought hard to successfully end child marriage in New York and I’m proud to sign this legislation to strengthen our laws and further protect vulnerable children from exploitation. 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.”

The law will take effect in 30 days and anyone who performs a marriage ceremony including a child under 18 will be committing a misdemeanor offense under the law

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