NEW YORK (July 23, 2021) - UNICEF USA welcomes the news that New York became is the sixth state in the U.S. to officially ban child marriage with no exceptions after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Senate Bill S3086, that passed the legislature with strong bipartisan support. 

The bill signed yesterday eliminates exceptions in New York law that allowed children under 18 to marry. Child marriage has negative impacts on children, ranging from separation from family and friends, to child pregnancy and loss of learning. This legislation serves as a model for other states across the country to improve their child protection systems by passing bright-line legislation to ban marriage under the age of 18.

Other states that have passed similar legislation include Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Minnesota.

Responding to this news, Michael J. Nyenhuis, UNICEF USA President and CEO, said:

“This news is a win not only for the New York coalition to end child marriage, led by Unchained at Last, and other NGOs including our national partner Zonta International, who have worked tirelessly to pass this bill, but also for girls and boys across the state who are at risk of child marriage. I commend Governor Andrew Cuomo's leadership in moving our country in a direction where every child has the right to a healthy and fulfilling childhood. I also commend the leadership of Senators Julia Salazar and George Borrello, and Assembly members Phil Ramos and Charles D. Lavine, who were instrumental in passing this historic legislation .

This legislative accomplishment was fueled in part by our passionate UNICEF UNITERs and grassroots volunteers who mobilized their state representatives to pass the bill. UNICEF USA supporters exemplify the power of our community’s voices, including youth voices, in catalyzing positive change for children and communities at large.”

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The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to put children first. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization, by providing health care and immunizations, safe water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. UNICEF USA supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when no children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit

For more information, contact

Lauren Davitt, UNICEF USA,

Nina Marie Costa, UNICEF USA, 212.922.2581,