Senate poised to vote to ban child marriages – Salem News

Child Marriage in West Virginia, Alaska

BOSTON — Massachusetts could become the latest state to outlaw child marriage, a practice that child welfare advocates say usually involves coercing vulnerable youths into unwanted unions.

On Thursday, the state Senate is expected to vote to set a minimum age for marriage at 18, with no exceptions, and require clerks or magistrates to get proof of age from people seeking marriage licenses.

Violators would face fines up to $1,000 and a year in prison.

One of the bill’s primary sponsors, Sen. Joan Lovely, D-Salem, said the practice of allowing adults to wed children has far-reaching mental and physical implications.

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