The minimum age for marriage in England and Wales is being raised to 18 after a backbench bill passed unanimously in Parliament.
The bill, tabled by Conservative MP Pauline Latham last year, is due to receive royal assent and become law later this week.
People could previously get married at 16 or 17 if they had parental consent, but ministers wanted to change the law to prevent child brides from being forced into marriage, the said Daily Mail.
Seven-year prison sentence
The new law makes it a criminal offense to marry a child and applies to both registered marriages and unregistered ceremonies. Adults who allow people under the age of 18 to marry face up to seven years in prison and a fine.
The offense would apply to a marriage “regardless of whether or not it is performed in England and Wales”, meaning it would still be an offense to take children out of the country with the intention of consummating a marriage .
Speak with The sun Last year Dominic Raab, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, said of the legislation: “Forced child marriage ruins lives”.
He added that the bill would “protect vulnerable young people” by “raising the legal marriage age to 18 and filling loopholes in the law that put them at risk.”
ending child marriage
Writing on Twitter, activist Payze MalikaShe, who was forced into marriage at the age of 16, celebrated the news. She said she was “struggling to put into words what that means.”
Malika’s sister, Banaz Mahmod, was murdered in 2006 for ending a violent and abusive forced marriage. “This is for me, for Banaz, for every child affected by child marriage,” she added.
Meanwhile, Latham said she was “excited” the bill was “on the way to becoming law,” the reported i news Side? site.
The Tory MP said: “Thank you to everyone who has once and for all supported the campaign to end child marriage in this country.”
North of the border
The new law does not affect marriages or civil partnerships entered into before this legislation and does not apply in Northern Ireland or Scotland, where people can still get married at 16.
A separate Forced Marriage Lawintroduced in 2014, made it a criminal offense – punishable by up to seven years in prison – to force anyone of any age into marriage against their will.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/law/956554/minimum-marriage-age-england-and-wales Why the minimum age for marriage is being raised in England and Wales