Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law last week a bill that sets 18 as the minimum age to obtain a marriage license.
Most states allow children ages 16 and 17 to marry if their parents provide consent.
“Obviously, one child’s parental consent is another child’s parental coercion, but state laws do not call for anyone to ask the children whether they are being pressured into marriage,” Unchained At Last said on its website. “Even when a girl sobs openly while her parents sign the application and force her into marriage, the clerk has no authority to intervene.”
In some states, a judge can approve a marriage for children under 16. Typically, such approvals are allowed when the child’s age or the age difference between the couple “should trigger a statutory-rape charge,” according to the organization.