German parliament and New York state enact law prohibiting child marriage

The state of New York has enacted a new law prohibiting  marriage for 14-16 year olds, while permitting 17 year olds to marry with parental and judicial consent. Under the previous law, the minimum age for marriage in New York was 18, but the law allowed children of 16 and 17 to marry with parental approval, and children of 14 and 15 to marry with permission from a judge and their parents.

Adopting a different position, German legislature has enacted a new law which completely prohibits marriage of those below 18 years of age. Earlier, adolescents in the age group of 16-17 could marry with court permission. This legislation also nullifies existing marriages involving minor parties who were under the age of 16 at the time of marriage. Commentators believe that this is intended to target marriages solemnised outside of Germany, particularly in immigrant communities. The law allows for exceptions in cases of “hardship” in which the initially underage spouse has since reached adulthood and confirms that they want to remain married.