Llanelli MP Nia Griffith has taken up the cause of those who are surprised and disappointed that on their marriage certificate there is only a space for the name and occupation of their father and no space for their mother.
The requirement to provide the details of the name and occupation of the bride’s and groom’s fathers dates back to 1837, when civil the registration of marriages was introduced in England and Wales, a change which also allowed couples to marry in register offices. While there have been various changes to laws relating to marriage since that date, the details required have remained largely unchanged.
“This matter was brought to my attention by constituents who have signed the online petition: mothers-names-should-be-on-marriage-certificates. It is unbelievable in this day and age that with all the advances that we have made in equality, we are still using this out-of-date format agreed almost 200 years ago. I have to confess that at my wedding a good few years ago now I must have been too excited to notice, and my mother had already passed away or she might have noticed.
Of course people want recognition for their mother as well as for their father on their marriage certificate. This is clearly a case of injustice and one that I want to see remedied quickly. If it can be done in Scotland and Northern Ireland, I see no reason why we cannot have it in England and Wales.
You would think that this would be an easy change to make to reflect current equality legislation, but the government’s response to the petitioners has been negative. Apparently, it will require legislation, and they have no plans to legislate. I have written to the Home Secretary and the Minister for Women and Equalities, to ask them to reconsider, and I am also seeking to bring forward a private member’s bill on it”