Help us end child marriage in New York State

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We are the Naila Amin Foundation. Naila Amin, our founder, is a New Yorker who was forced by her parents to marry her first cousin when she was just 13. The first petition for her marriage was approved by the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) when she was only 14 years old.

Her ex-husband was 13 years older than her at the time of the Nikah (Islamic ceremony), and she was then forced to go overseas to live with him at age 15, where she was abused. All of this, however, was enabled by legal child marriage in New York State.

Naila hopes to enact legislation to ban the exceptions that lead to her suffering and prevent others from having to endure the same. We seek to create a bill, very similar in style and content to the one recently passed in New Jersey.

Child marriage occurs legally through loopholes and exceptions. In New York State, a person can be married as young as 17 with judicial review. This does not protect 17 year old's. Lets raise the age to 18 with no exceptions.

If a 17 year old is married off and decides he/she is not happy, they have to wait to turn 18 to file for divorce, trapping them in abusive marriages and a shelter wont take anyone under 18. This is just a recipe for disaster.

However often times, parents are the ones forcing the marriages rather than consenting to them. In fact, abuse, honor killings, or being disowned are the repercussions of refusal on the part of children. Because these victims are underage, abuse is inherent in these marriages.

Since 2000, more than 200,000 youths have been legally married in the US. In the summer of 2017, NY changed its child marriage age from 14 to 17, this is not enough. Lets protect everyone under 18.