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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.
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.
Ban on child marriages conditionally vetoed by Christie
Kids in New Jersey can still get married.
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.
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Mr Christie conditionally vetoed the measure, sending it back to the state legislature with proposed changes. He said it should have an exception so a judge can approve marriages for 16- and 17-year-olds.
“An exclusion without exceptions would violate the cultures and traditions of some communities in New Jersey based on religious traditions,” Mr Christie said in a statement.