Mar­riage cer­tifi­cates re­form closer

Western Mail - - NEWS -

PRO­POS­ALS to in­clude moth­ers’ names on mar­riage cer­tifi­cates in Eng­land and Wales have moved a step closer to be­com­ing law.

The Reg­is­tra­tion of Mar­riage Bill cleared its lat­est stage in the House of Lords in lit­tle more than 30 min­utes af­ter peers ap­proved a se­ries of tech­ni­cal amend­ments, in­clud­ing curb­ing the pow­ers of min­is­ters over how to im­ple­ment the changes.

The Bishop of St Al­bans’ Bill in­tro­duces re­forms to move from a pa­per­based sys­tem to an elec­tronic reg­is­ter.

This would make it pos­si­ble to in­clude moth­ers’ de­tails, with the sys­tem since 1837 only pro­vid­ing space for the name of the fa­ther of each of the cou­ple to be recorded.

Home Of­fice Min­is­ter Baroness Wil­liams of Traf­ford, speak­ing at com­mit­tee stage, said: “This sit­u­a­tion is out­dated and it’s widely ac­cepted that changes are re­quired to ad­dress this in­equal­ity.”

Lady Wil­liams said all the dif­fer­ent fam­ily cir­cum­stances of so­ci­ety would be pro­vided for un­der the new reg­is­tra­tion sys­tem, in­clud­ing same-sex par­ents. She later added: “On the names of the par­ents, it will say ‘mother’, ‘fa­ther’, ‘par­ent’ for both par­ents.

“So that will al­low for both chil­dren of op­po­site-sex cou­ples, same-sex cou­ples and what­ever we have to come.”

The bill still has stages to com­plete in the Lords be­fore then mov­ing to the House of Com­mons.

Con­ser­va­tive former min­is­ter Dame Caro­line Spel­man, the Church of Eng­land’s of­fi­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the Com­mons, has moved an iden­ti­cal bill as the cam­paign for change seeks to achieve its aim as quickly as pos­si­ble.

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