Delaware has become the first state to outlaw child marriages, closing a loophole that allowed marriages with parental consent.
Lawmakers in favor of the law commended the action, saying that it prevented what would have normally been statutory rape.
“Children under 18 have no legal standing–they cannot file for divorce, utilize a domestic violence shelter, apply for a loan or open a credit card. They cannot enter any legal contract, but until this bill was signed they could be married as a child without any way of escaping an abusive marriage,” said Rep. Kim Williams (D-Newport). “Now that we have closed this loophole in Delaware law, children will be protected from forced marriage and its dangerous consequences.”
The bill passed unanimously in the State Senate and 23-11-6 in the House.