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16 October 2015 0 Comments
Posted in Opinion

Fresh calls to change marriage certificates

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The Government was this week facing renewed pressure to make changes to the information included on marriage certificates.

Campaigners are concerned that certificates have not been updated for over 150 years and that the current format does not reflect the subsequent shift in social attitudes.

It is particularly contentious that the forms ask for the names and professions of the fathers of the bride and groom, but not of the mothers.

After an online campaign attracted considerable support last year, Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged that it wasn’t acceptable that the content of marriage registers had not been reviewed since the early days of Queen Victoria’s reign.

In the spirit of equality, he made a promise to address the issue.

But more than 12 months later, no action has been taken and those pushing for reform have voiced their frustration.

On Monday this week, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas tabled an early day motion, urging Mr Cameron to honour his pledge.

“The Government must act now to correct the blatant sexism of only having fathers’ details on marriage certificates,” said the Brighton Pavilion MP.

“The Prime Minister has accepted that marriage certificates are discriminatory – yet his government has been unforgivably slow to act on this issue. It’s high time we end this institutional inequality and update marriage certificates to be fit for modern society.”

Rhiannan Sullivan, the daughter of a single mother, launched a fresh petition earlier this week, which has already received in excess of 20,000 signatures. She described the current arrangements as “archaic.”

“My father has not been a major part of my life since I was a small child yet when it comes to signing our marriage certificates there is space for his name and profession on the form, but not my mother’s,” said Ms Sullivan.

“The fact that the one person who has not only raised me, but has inspired me throughout my whole life, will not be registered or named on such an important and legal document is ridiculous.”

To find out more about the family services we provide, please contact Patrick Hart from our Family Law team today.

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