New Jersey could become the first state to ban marriage for anyone under 18 years old, Marylin Stowe reports.
Like the other 49 states in the union, New Jersey currently allows young people to marry before their 18th birthday if they have permission from their parents to do so. The Garden State also allows those younger than 15 to marry if they have prior approval from a Judge of the Superior Court, New Jersey’s appellate court.
A Republican and a Democrat in the State Assembly have co-sponsored a bill which would eliminate these legal exceptions to the minimum age. Reed Gusciora, the Democrat, said allowing marriage for those under 18 could mean that children are “being forced into an environment that may not be in their best interest.”
Nancy Muñoz, the Republican co-sponsor, insisted that the practice increased “the potential for domestic violence in the home, a higher incidence of divorce [and] the inability to get out of all those problems.”
Last month, the bill was approved in the State Assembly with 62 votes in its favor and none against, along with seven abstentions. It has now been sent to the state’s Senate. If it is passed there, it will go to Republican Governor and former Presidential candidate Chris Christie for his signature or veto.