On June 22, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that raises the consent to be married in the state to 18 years old.
“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,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement on his website.
“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 website explains that this measure builds upon legislation that the governor signed in 2017 by eliminating the ability for 17-year-olds to be married with both parental and judicial consent.
This will go into effect 30 days after becoming a law. It will apply only to licenses issued after that date and marriages that had not been solemnized before that date.
“We’ve fought hard to successfully end child marriage,” Cuomo wrote on Twitter.
“Kids should be able to be kids. I thank the many legislators & advocates who made this law possible.”
CBS News explains that New York is only the sixth state to do so. Other states that have implemented this law are Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
Nevada, Idaho, and Arkansas are among the states with the highest per-capita rates of child marriage.
“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,” Senator Julia Salazar also said in a statement.
“The vast majority of minors who enter a marriage are teenage girls, and getting married before adulthood often has devastating consequences for them.”