New Jersey is one step closer to becoming the second state to ban childhood marriage.
This week, the state assembly passed A856/S2528, a bill that would ban marriages for those under the of 18 with no exceptions. Currently, teenagers who are 16 and 17 can wed with parental or guardian consent and those younger can with judge approval.
Unchained at Last held a “Chain-In” last weekend outside of Assemblyman Gary Schaer’s office. In early April, Schaer prevented a vote on the bill and cited his Jewish religion as the reason. Women at the Chain-In wore bridal dresses and veils with their arms chained and mouths taped.
A similar demonstration was seen at Philadelphia’s City Hall with Pennsylvania State Rep. Perry Warren who is the sponsor of HB1038. The bill has been sitting in the Judiciary Committee since March 2017.
Thursday, by a vote of 59-0-12, the bill will move on the Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk.
In May, Delaware became the first state to ban child marriages.
A 2011 survey claims 3,000 young girls were forced to marry due to threats, death or beatings in the previous two years, according to Unchained at Last.
Burlington Sen. Shirley Turner is a sponsor of the bill.
Unchained at Last said it’s “great news for girls,” and that the bill has “faced obstacles.” Last year, former Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a similar bill.