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US: New York Officially Bans Child Marriage, Only Sixth State in U.S. to Do So

World Children's Day: Child marriage annulment in India and the woman who dedicates her life to helping girls leave

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New York on Thursday became the sixth state in the U.S. to officially ban child marriage.

a close up of a car: New York on Thursday became the sixth state in the U.S. to officially banned child marriage. In this photo, © Robert Alexander/Getty Images New York on Thursday became the sixth state in the U.S. to officially banned child marriage. In this photo, "Just Married" is seen written on the back window of a newlywed couple's car parked in Nashville, Tennessee.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, signed into law legislation raising the age of consent for marriage to 18.

"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 in a statement. "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."

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The governor approved legislation in 2017 that aimed to ban child marriage, raising the age of consent from 14 to 18. But the law included an exception where 17-year-olds could be married with the consent of parents and the courts.

The new bill signed Thursday closes that loophole, forbidding any marriage in which either person is under the age of 18. The law will go into effect in 30 days.

"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," state senator Julia Salazaar 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."

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New York is just the sixth state in the country to ban marriage before the age of 18. Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island are the only other states that have officially banned child marriage.

Many states have a minimum marriage age for minors with parental consent, ranging from 12 to 17 years old. But several states, such as California, Massachusetts and Wyoming, have no minimum age for minors when all exceptions are taken into place.

According to Unchained At Last, a nonprofit that works to end forced and child marriage, an estimated 4,890 children were subjected to child marriage in New York between 2000 and 2018. Almost all were girls wed to adult men, the group said in a news release.

A study released by Unchained At Last in April reported nearly 300,000 minors were legally married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2018. Some were as young as 10, the report found, though a vast majority were 16 or 17 years old.

'A huge lift': Biden's bet on child care is closer to reality but could it boost expenses for some?

  'A huge lift': Biden's bet on child care is closer to reality but could it boost expenses for some? Biden's social infrastructure bill could make child care more affordable for many. But the Build Back Better Act could also raise prices for others.The child care plan included in the wide-ranging domestic spending package passed by the House this month would boost wages and employment for child care workers in the short term and raise earnings for parents – particularly women – in the long run, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said last week.

Roughly 86 percent of the children who married were girls, and most were wed to adult men. When girls married, their average spousal age difference was four years, whereas when boys married, their average spousal age difference was 1.5 years, the group found.

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Chile legalizes same-sex marriage as major election draws near .
Chile's government passed a law Tuesday to legalize same-sex marriage, a landmark decision in the historically-conservative and Catholic Latin American nation, according to multiple reports.The South American country is headed for a major election in December and had been debating the legality of same-sex marriage for months, reports Reuters. After Chile's Congress passed the milestone law, Minister of Social Development Karla Rubilar said, "The South American country is headed for a major election in December and had been debating the legality of same-sex marriage for months, reports Reuters.

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