Cuomo Signs Law Ending Child Marriage in New York

Activists say Nalia's Law will protect children from statutory rape, forced marriage
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2021 2:20 PM CDT
Cuomo Signs Law Ending Child Marriage in New York
File photo of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Children can't get married in New York. That might not sound groundbreaking, but the law recently signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo raising the age of consent to 18 is rare in the US; only six states prohibit child marriage. Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island also don’t allow children under 18 to marry, the Washington Post reports. The law raises the age of consent to marry from 14, and 17-year-olds can get hitched if their parents and a judge approve.

The legislation, called Nalia's Law after a survivor of forced marriage, is not just a measure to keep infatuated kids from tying the knot too early, NBC News reports. Activists say kids, especially girls, can be forced into unwanted marriages by parents or abusers, CBS News reports. Child marriages are growing less common, too. A recent study showed that child marriages dropped from 76,396 in 2000 to 2,493 in 2018. Nevada, Idaho, and Arkansas have the highest rates of child marriage. (More child marriage stories.)

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