New York State raises marriage age to 17

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., signed legislation Tuesday increasing New York State's marriage age to 17. Photo by Leisl Gerntholtz/Human Rights Watch/Twitter

June 21 (UPI) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation raising the age at which residents can marry, from 14 to 17.

The new law, signed Tuesday in a private ceremony in the state’s Albany Capitol building, bans marriages of minors under age 17 and requires court approval for those aged 17 to marry. The previous law, enacted in 1929, allowed people as young as 14 to get married, although they required parental and judicial approval.

With the state legislature ending its session Wednesday, the bill was among a number requiring Cuomo’s signature.

Amy Paulin, a member of the state assembly and sponsor of the bill, told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, “Today we changed the destiny of so many young New Yorkers by giving them an opportunity for a brighter future.”

The advocacy organization Human Rights Watch said in a statement Tuesday that in 27 U.S. states, there is no limit to how young a person can marry if a judge approves the marriage contract. The organization noted that in New York State, 3,850 people under 18 between 2001 and 2010 were married, and said that “other states should follow New York’s example by enacting laws to end this harmful practice.”


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