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Massachusetts Senate approves child marriage ban

July 25, 2019

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Senate has approved legislation banning child marriage.

The state Senate unanimously approved Thursday a bill preventing persons under the age of 18 from marrying. The proposal from Sen. Harriette Chandler requires clerks and registrars to ask for proof of age before issuing a marriage license.

The bill still needs approval from the state House of Representatives and Gov. Charlie Baker.

Unlike many states, Massachusetts has no minimum age for marriage. Minors can marry with parental consent or a judge’s order. But they also can’t divorce without parental consent.

The state Department of Public Health says at least 1,190 children as young as 14 were married in Massachusetts between 2000 and 2014. Most were girls married to adult men.

Delaware and New Jersey passed similar laws last year.

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