Tom Wolf, the Governor of Pennsylvania, signed a law on Friday that bans child marriage, making the state the third one to fully outlaw marriage for people under 18 years old.
Delaware and New Jersey are the only other states in the US that ban child marriage.
The legislature of the state unanimously voted to approve the ban last.
Governor Wolf signed it into law as part of the House Bill 360, which has set 18 as the minimum age to obtain a marriage license.
Before the ban, an applicant younger than 16 could obtain a marriage license with court approval.
The law allows people between 16 and 18 to obtain a marriage license with parental consent.
During a press release on Friday, Governor Wolf said:
Setting the minimum age to obtain a marriage license will help prevent child exploitation. Marriage is a sacred and serious commitment that should be undertaken with love by two adults, not by children being exploited by unscrupulous adults.
According to Unchained, a group that is working constantly to end child marriage, arranged marriage, and end marriage in the entire country, says over 2300 children that were around 15 years old to 17 got married in Pennsylvania since 2014.
Not only that, but Unchained also said that 248,000 children that are as young as 12 years old got married in the US between 2000 and 2010.
The majority of them were females.
According to the website of Unchained, they said:
These were not ‘Romeo and Juliet’ situations, Some 77% of the children wed were minor girls married to adult men, often with significant age differences. Some children were wed at an age, or with a spousal age difference, that constitutes statutory rape under their state’s laws.
47 states in the United States of America allow people under 18 to get married through exceptions like parental consent or judicial approval.