Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday signed a law that would set the minimum age for marriage in New Jersey at 18, in what became a fight over human rights versus religious freedom.
New Jersey is the second state behind Delaware to enact a law requiring youth to wait until they are 18 to get married.
State law had permitted 16- and 17-year-olds to obtain marriage licenses with parental consent. Those under 16 needed both parental consent and approval from a judge.
The new law would require people to wait until age 18 to get a marriage license.
Unchained At Last, a non-profit organization that helps young women and girls leave forced marriages, has testified at committee hearings that teenage marriage associated with some conservative religions is more widespread than people think.
Fraidy Reiss, founder of Unchained At Last, called the new law "a huge victory for girls and women across New Jersey."
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