New York banned underage marriages on Thursday, raising the age of consent to 18 years old.
Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) signed the bill into law, which eliminated the previous exception of allowing 17-year-olds to get married with the consent of parents and the courts.
“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,” Cuomo said.
“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,” he added.
The law takes effect in 30 days on August 21.
The previous exception allowing 17-years-old to get married was part of a law Cuomo signed in 2017. The 2017 law also raised the age of consent from 14 to 18 years old, Spectrum News 1 reported.
“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,” Democratic Senator Julia Salazar, who sponsored the bill, said.
“The vast majority of minors who enter a marriage are teenage girls, and getting married before adulthood often has devastating consequences for them. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this bill to finally prohibit child marriage without exceptions in New York, and commend the continued work of Unchained At Last in advocating to prohibit child marriage nationwide,” Salazar added.