Proposed law would add mothers’ names to marriage certificates in England and Wales

Nov 26, 2017 by

by Jessica Elgot, Guardian:

Mothers’ names could be added to marriage certificates for the first time if a cross-party group of MPs succeed in changing the wording on the documents, which campaigners say are no longer fit for modern times.

Marriage certificates only list the fathers of the people getting married, which the government has previously resisted changing on cost grounds.

Caroline Spelman, a former cabinet minister, is set to present a bill for second reading this week that would allow the name of the mothers of the pair getting married to appear on the certificate. The bill is co-sponsored by Labour MP Frank Field, the former culture secretary, Maria Miller, and Tim Farron, former Liberal Democrat leader.

Spelman is now the second church estates commissioner, the Church of England’s official representative in the Commons. The bill will also set out a mechanism for a digital register of marriages, to prevent the high cost of replacing all marriage registers to allow the inclusion of mothers’ names.

A similar proposed law aiming to recognise mothers on marriage certificates was put forward by Labour MP Christina Rees in 2015, but was rejected by the government. The Home Office minister at the time, Richard Harrington, said he was “not convinced” the Neath MP’s bill was the “right way to deal with it” because the government also wanted to adapt the registration system for the digital age.

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