Delaware is living up to its nickname: The first state. It is the “first state” to ban child marriage. Gov. John Carney (D) signed a measure into law on Wednesday that set the minimum age for marriage at 18, according to WDEL.
The law took effect immediately. Under the previous law, minors in the state could be married at any age with the approval of a judge.
State Rep. Kim Williams (D), who sponsored the legislation, praised the new law.
“Now that we have closed this loophole in Delaware law, children will be protected from forced marriage and its dangerous consequences,” she said.
Delaware Leading the Way
“I am so proud that Delaware is leading the way to protect children, and I hope that other states follow suit.”
There is a growing trend in state legislatures across the nation to address child marriage. Minors who marry are often feeling forced into wedlock.
Frontline did an analysis finding that more than 207,000 people under the age of 18 were married in the United States between 2000 and 2014.
New York, Connecticut, Texas and Florida have all passed measures over the past year raising the minimum age to marry. Delaware is the first to raise that age to 18.