A high profile Republican governor has declined to sign into law, a measure that would have made his state the first to ban child marriage without exception. Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey and someone who has been a staunch supporter of Donald Trump, said such a ban would conflict with religious customs. He did not specify what religions he was referring to.
Reuters said underage marriage is widespread in the US, where about 170,000 children were wed between 2000 and 2010 in 38 of the 50 states where data was available. Although age 18 is the minimum for marriage in most of the nation, every state has legal loopholes allowing children to wed. The New Jersey bill would have prohibited any marriage of children under age 18.
Politico has more:
Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday conditionally vetoed a bill (A3091) that would have banned outright all marriages for minors in New Jersey. Instead, the governor proposed putting more restrictions on New Jersey’s current law, which allows 16- and 17-year-olds to obtain marriage licenses with parental consent, and grants them to those under 16 with a family court judge’s permission.
“I agree that protecting the well-being, dignity, and freedom of minors is vital, but the severe bar this bill creates is not necessary to address the concerns voiced by the bill’s proponents and does not comport with the sensibilities and, in some cases, the religious customs, of the people of this State,” Christie said in his veto message.
The top sponsor of the measure was Republican Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, who said at a committee hearing last year that she introduced it bill after hearing “compelling” stories of minors forced into marriages for religious reasons. The bill passed the Assembly and Senate with overwhelming support.
Islamic religious customs have no place in western society, and especially not in American society. But there are a lot of Muslims in New Jersey.
In case you’re wondering, Christie is term-limited out of office this year.