NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – New Jersey gave child advocates a boost on Friday as it became the second U.S. state to outlaw child marriage in as many months.
With Delaware in May passing the first U.S. law imposing a blanket ban on marriage for those under age 18, campaigners said a budding nationwide movement is gaining traction.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed the measure into law in Trenton, the state capital, calling it an “important human rights issue”.
Previously, children in New Jersey as young as 16 could marry with parental consent, and those under 16 could marry with approval of a judge.
N.J. Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, the bill’s main sponsor, said getting the law passed had been a “journey not without difficulties.”
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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