Massachusetts senators to debate ban on child marriage

BOSTON (AP) — A bill that supporters say would end child marriage in Massachusetts could soon come up for a vote in the state Senate.

Under Massachusetts law, minors can marry with parental consent or a judge's order. And unlike many other U.S. states, there is no minimum age for marriage.

The legislation to ban all under-18 marriages has been placed on the Senate calendar for debate on Thursday. Supporters say hundreds of minors as young as 14 have been married since 2000, most of them girls married to adult men.

Delaware and New Jersey became the first two states to pass similar laws last year.

Under the Massachusetts bill, clerks and registrars would be required to ask for birth certificates or other proof of age before issuing a marriage license.