New Law Bans Child Marriages in New Jersey
NEW JERSEY — June 25, 2018
Previously New Jersey law had permitted 16- and 17-year-olds to obtain marriage licenses with parental consent.
Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday signed a law that would set the minimum age for marriage in New Jersey at 18-years-old.
"In New Jersey, we are dedicated to protecting children by putting an end to child marriages by raising the minimum age to 18," Murphy said in a statement, which included a photo of the bill signing he held privately with Reiss and other advocates.
"Studies have consistently showed that minors who enter into marriage - particularly young women - are less likely to graduate from high school and college and more likely to suffer domestic abuse and live in poverty," he added. "I am proud to join with the Legislature to make New Jersey a national leader on this important human rights issue."
According to the new law, people have to wait until age 18 to get a marriage license. New Jersey became the second state after Delaware to raise the age of marriage to 18.
"Marriage is a loving bond between two people," the announcement of one of the sponsors Nancy Munoz, R-Union read. "Forcing young girls into arranged marriages is harmful and a violation of their basic human rights. Getting this law passed was a long fight, but well worth it. I appreciate my colleagues support in helping this legislation became law."
Fraidy Reiss, founder of Unchained At Last that helps young women and girls leave forced marriages, called the new law "a huge victory for girls and women across New Jersey." She noted that the problem was really more widespread than people think.
"This is such a personal victory for me, because I'm a forced-marriage survivor, and because I wrote this bill, and because I worked for three years to turn this bill into law," Reiss wrote in an email. "We ended a human-rights abuse that destroys girls' lives."
Also this law was supported by The National Organization for Women of New Jersey, religious organizations and others public and private companies.
According to the State Health Department, 3,628 minors got married in New Jersey from 1995 to 2015, and 95% of them were in the 16-to-17-year-old age bracket.