The Assembly shelved a vote Thursday on a bill that would make New Jersey the second state in the nation to ban marriages under the age of 18.
The bill (A865/S2528) was scheduled for final legislative approval but was held over objections from the orthodox religious community and over concerns that the bill doesn’t make exceptions for young members of the military, said Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, a primary sponsor of the bill.
The bipartisan measure would require minors to wait until they are 18 to get married with no exceptions. Under current law, teenagers who are 16 and 17 can get married if they receive parental or guardian consent, and children under 16 can marry if a state judge also approves.
The legislation is designed to prevent young teenagers, mostly girls, from being forced to marry someone they do not love.
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Number of Women and Girls At Risk: 25,000
Status: Existing Legislation Needs Strengthening
Improve by adding: Prosecuting parents/guardian, felony offense