ST. PAUL (AP) — A bill banning child marriages in Minnesota has cleared the Legislature. The state Senate approved the bill Wednesday and sent it to Gov. Tim Walz, who is expected to sign it.

The Minnesota House unanimously approved the measure last year.

Under current law, 16 and 17-year-olds can obtain a marriage license with permission from a legal parent or guardian and a judge. This raises the legal marriage age in Minnesota to 18 in all circumstances.

Supporters of the bill say underage girls are often coerced or forced into marriages they cannot easily escape.

Minnesota would become the third state in the U.S. to fully ban child marriage.

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