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U.S. state of New York raises legal minimum age of marriage to 17
July 24,2017   By:Xinhua

July 24, 2017 -- The U.S. state of New York has raised the legal minimum age of marriage to 17 in an effort to prevent child marriage.

A state law went into effect Thursday, a month after lawmakers voted to change a previous one that had allowed 14-year-olds to marry.

Under the new rules, an individual aged 17 must receive judicial approval before marrying.

Between 2000 and 2010 in New York, 3,800 teens between the ages of 14 and 17 got married in New York under the state law passed in 1929. Some were as young as 14.

More than 3,000 of those teens were teens marrying adult men, according to the state data.

Child marriage, or marriage before 18, is happening in the United States at an alarming rate, according to Unchained At Last, a group campaigning to abolish child marriage.

Nearly a quarter million children as young as 10 were married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010 - mostly girls wed to adult men, said the group, based in the state of New Jersey. The true figure is likely to be much higher because 10 states provided no or incomplete statistics.

In May, Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, declined to sign into law a measure that would have made his state the first to ban child marriage without exception. Christie claimed it would conflict with religious customs.