The legal age of marriage is changing in England and Wales.
New legislation is being brought in that will raise the current age from 16 to 18, and it means that adults who facilitate underage marriage could face time in prison.
Conservative MP Pauline Latham, who introduced the bill after years of campaigning, said it will ‘transform the life chances of many girls’.
Campaigner Payzee Malika, who has worked with the MP for the change, tweeted: “Today, tears of joy roll down my face because I know what this means for girls like me.”
Malika was reportedly coerced into an underage marriage, which she later managed to escape. However, her sister, Banaz, was tragically murdered in a so-called ‘honour killing’ for the same reason.
In welcoming the change, the campaigner stated: “There has not been a single moment in this journey when Banaz was not at the forefront of my thoughts.
“Every day I thought of her. I fought for her. This law could have saved her.”
She then added: “This journey has been an incredible one. I’ve worked with so many women who have supported me, one another and this campaign. There is no us without you all. This is for every girl.”
Currently, the legal age of marriage is 16 years old in Scotland and couples do not need parental consent to exchange nuptials.
Over in Northern Ireland, it also remains at 16. However, couples there need parental permission for their union to be legal.
It’s understood that no marriage or civil partnership that took place before the legislation changed will be affected.
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