STATE BANS CHILD MARRIAGES

By Bob Katzen

The Senate 39-0, approved and sent to the House a bill that would ban the marriage of anyone under the age of 18. Current law allows minors to get married if they have parental consent.

“It’s a good day in Massachusetts,” said Fraidy Reiss, Founder and Executive Director of Unchained At Last – the group behind the ban. The Legislature just moved one step closer to eliminating a human rights abuse that destroys girls’ lives.”

During the debate, the bill’s sponsor Sen. Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester) said that the Legislature has the power to stop child marriages in the Bay State. She noted that Delaware and New Jersey passed similar legislation last year, making them the first states in the nation to completely ban child marriage. She noted that means that Massachusetts still has the chance to be on the forefront of justice.

“Unfortunately, 1,231 underage youth were married in Massachusetts between the years 2000 and 2016,” said the bill’s sponsor Sen. Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester). “This is a problem, because young people who marry under the age of eighteen are not afforded the tools to protect themselves or to remove themselves from an abusive relationship or a forced marriage.

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