New York and Texas Enact Laws to Curb Child Marriage

By: - June 21, 2017 12:00 am

Women in chains protest against child marriage at the New York Capitol in Albany. This week, New Hampshire raised the age at which minors can marry. Anna Gronewold/AP

Child Marriage protesters

Women in chains protest against child marriage at the New York Capitol in Albany. New York and other states are considering tightening laws that allow minors to marry with parental or judicial approval.

© The Associated Press

Governors in New York and Texas have signed bills that seek to end child marriage by raising the minimum age to marry.

Legislators in 10 states introduced bills this year to raise the marriage age, with former child brides joining the effort in several states. Proponents say the changes will help protect children from being pushed into marriages by parents and predators.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, signed a bill Tuesday that raises the minimum age for marriage from 14 to 17. Seventeen-year-olds would only be able to wed with a judge’s permission, and the law requires a hearing to make sure the teen is not being coerced and that the marriage will not endanger the applicant’s safety.

In Texas, a new law signed Friday that goes into effect Sept. 1 will prohibit anyone under 16 from marrying. The law also requires 16- and 17-year-olds to get judicial permission in order to marry. Current state law allows a person of any age to get married so long as they get a judge’s consent.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Rebecca Beitsch

Rebecca Beitsch writes about energy and the environment for Stateline. She covered state government in Missouri and North Dakota, writing about politics and policy for NewsRadio KMOX, the Columbia Missourian and the Bismarck Tribune.