Children in child care are being denied access to health care, access to education and other essential services, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled Tuesday.
In a 6-1 decision, the court said the children are the ones at risk of being sexually abused by their parents and that they are not legally capable of making an informed decision about whether to have their own children.
The court also said that the court has the power to determine whether a child’s parents are the only ones who have custody of their children.
A spokesman for the justices said the decision is a victory for the children.
“Today, the Court reaffirmed that the Constitution guarantees children the same fundamental rights as adults, including the right to be free from abusive and unlawful parental control,” said David O’Connor.
Children are “not ‘the most important factor in deciding the best course of action for their lives,'” O’Neil said.
“We are pleased to see the Court strike down parental control as a barrier to child development.”
The decision was the latest legal blow to push back against the legalization of child marriage, which began in several states last year after President Donald Trump signed an executive order that made it legal in all 50 states.
Under the order, U.S. states can now impose a one-year mandatory waiting period on marriage licenses for those under 21, while children under 18 are not eligible.
On Tuesday, the state of Arkansas enacted a law requiring all child brides to obtain the state’s “best interest of the child” waiver.