On July 22, 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law, officially banning child marriage in New York State. The measure ensured that people under 18 would no longer be able to enter into marriage.

But, are there any exceptions?

Under the previous legislation, minors as young as 14 or 15 were permitted to marry in New York State with the approval of both parents and a judge. However, recognizing the need for greater safeguards and the potential vulnerabilities that young individuals may face in such situations, lawmakers have set the legal age of consent for marriage at 18.

So, no. No exceptions exist to the legal marriage age in New York.

With this new law, New York joined several other states that have enacted similar measures to safeguard minors from the potential harm and consequences associated with early marriages. This law aims to protect young individuals and enable them to fully exercise their rights, pursue their education, and develop their identities before committing to such a life-altering commitment.

Child marriage has historically been an issue not only within the United States but also globally, where young girls are often forced into marriages before they reach adulthood. Research has shown that child marriages can lead to a host of negative consequences, including diminished educational opportunities, increased risk of poverty, and higher rates of domestic violence.

By raising the age of consent, New York State took a proactive stance in safeguarding the welfare of its young citizens. Before the law was signed in 2021, minors aged 14 or 15 were allowed to marry in New York with permission from their parents and a judge.

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