The state of North Carolina is coming very close to passing a bill that would end the state's status as the go-to place for child marriages between 14-18.
Most US states allow marriages if they occur below 18. However, last month, New York changed its policy, making it the sixth state to do so. Now, North Carolina is making similar endeavors.
Before this, North Carolina law allowed a 14-year-old to get married if they were also pregnant and a judge allowed it. Otherwise, a 16-year-old could get married with a parent's approval.
The new legislation will raise the minimum marriage age from 14 to 16 and only allow 16-year-olds to get married if there is a four-year age difference or less.
The 16-year-old restriction passed in the state Senate and House in May, although local advocacy groups continue to advocate for the state to increase the age to 18.
According to local officials, Buncombe County is a popular location for child marriages, with more than two-thirds of marriage applications in the county that involved an under 18 also involving at least one of the pair being from outside of North Carolina.
According to data from the International Center for Research on Women, 8,800 minors were married in North Carolina between 2000 and 2015. This large quantity places the state in the top five states allowing child marriage.