The government has rejected calls to amend the information included on marriage certificates.
Labour MP Christina Rees has proposed a law which would create room for the bride and groom’s mothers to have their name and occupation listed. The current certificates have been branded as ‘sexist’ because they only feature the fathers’ information.
Rees claimed that “hundreds of thousands of marriages have taken place while the government failed to act” on this issue, and that represents “hundreds of thousands of instances in which women have been accorded second-class status”. She said this “beggars belief” in a developed nation in the 21st Century.
Last year, Prime Minister David Cameron declared it was “high time the system was updated”. However, government ministers rejected Rees’ proposal. Conservative MP Richard Harrington claimed the government could not support the bill because it “does not take account of different family circumstances, where there may not be a mother and father”.
He said that the proposal “does not reform the whole registration process”, nor would it “give flexibility for the future”. It is important to get the reforms right, because “the matter may not be [looked at] again for another 100 or 200 years”, he insisted.
The government’s stance has been criticised as “political correctness defying common sense” by Christian campaign group the Coalition for Marriage. Colin Hart, the group’s director, claimed that while the bill proposed a small change, it would make “a huge difference to a large number of people and it is being denied because of concerns about offending people in a same sex marriage”.