New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Tuesday that overturned a state law that allowed 14-year-old children to legally marry.
The law raised the age of consent for marriage to 18 years old in the state. PIX 11 reports that those aged 17 to 18 years old will need parental approval to get married.
Advocates for the law told the Associated Press in February that thousands of young teenagers are forced into marriage. According to the AP, health department data says that 3,853 minors were married in New York between 2000 and 2010 — 84 percent of which were minor girls married to adult men.
Opponents of the bill argued that such a ban infringes upon religious freedom and customs. New Jersey governor Chris Christie vetoed a similar bill in May that would have banned childhood marriage in his state. He instead proposed a bill that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to wed with the permission from a family court judge.
“I agree that protecting the well-being, dignity, and freedom of minors is vital, but the severe bar this bill creates is not necessary to address the concerns voiced by the bill’s proponents and does not comport with the sensibilities and, in some cases, the religious customs, of the people of this State,” Christie said in his veto message, according to Politico.
North Carolina and Alaska currently allow children as young as 14 to marry with parental and judicial consent. Twenty-seven states have no minimum marriage age, meaning any child could receive a marriage license with parental and court approval.
Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.