Norwich MP calls for marriage reform to end “business transaction between fathers”

Norwich MP Chloe Smith Norwich MP Chloe Smith

Thursday, June 5, 2014
5:25 PM

Norwich MP Chloe Smith spoke of her surprise that her mother was left off her marriage certificate as she called for an end to the old practice of marriage being a “business transaction between fathers”.

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Ministers have been urged to bring forward laws immediately to end the “offensive and outdated message”.

The names of the mothers of the bride and groom are not specifically recorded on marriage certificates in England and Wales, although there is space for details of the fathers.

MPs from across the political spectrum have now told Home Secretary Theresa May to rectify the situation and bring marriage certificates into line with those for civil partnerships to ensure mothers are “no longer erased from these important historical records”.

Tory Chloe Smith, who sponsored the motion, said she was surprised to learn she could not include her mother on the certificate when she married Sandy McFadzean last November.

“Having only recently got married myself, the anachronism in the process is clear and I simply don’t think it’s right for the 21st century,” she said.

Asked if she knew in advance that her mother would not be included on the certificate, Miss Smith said: “I didn’t know that. It came as a surprise.”

The motion tabled in Parliament has so far been signed by 26 MPs.

It follows a petition on the change.org website, which has attracted more than 37,500 signatures calling for the names of mothers to be included alongside those of fathers.

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas (Brighton Pavilion), who is the main sponsor of the early day motion in the Commons, has also been joined by former Labour minister Dame Joan Ruddock (Lewisham Deptford) and Liberal Democrat Sir Bob Russell (Colchester), among others, in raising the issue.

The motion states: “That this House... believes our law should not perpetuate the offensive and outdated message that marriage is a business transaction between fathers; further notes that both mothers and fathers are recorded on a civil partnership certificate and believes the same should be the case on a marriage certificate; further believes that change is needed so that mothers are no longer erased from these important historical records; and calls on the Secretary of State for the Home Department to bring forward the necessary legislative proposals without delay.”

16 comments

  • How about the birth certificate where the father doesn't have to appear at all? Mother gets to choose on that one. Neither the father nor the newborn baby can have a choice if the mother has made up her mind to exclude the father's name. Far more worthwhile thing to campaign about.

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    alecto

    Saturday, June 7, 2014

  • change.org then forward slash nameequality Comments box won't publish this correctly!

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    Name Equality

    Friday, June 6, 2014

  • Petition link: change.orgnameequality

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    Name Equality

    Friday, June 6, 2014

  • The petition which I set up at change.orgnameequality has over 38,000 signatures. Please add your support to get this changed.

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    Name Equality

    Friday, June 6, 2014

  • She is no such thing, she is too young and inexperienced, not to speak of being placed into the conservative oligarchy by her previous employer.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, June 6, 2014

  • Che what a nasty little person you are.Chloe Smith is the most hard working MP this City has ever had. Norwich North knows it thats why we elected her,again and again,and again in the forthcoming General Election.So get over it please

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    PaulH

    Friday, June 6, 2014

  • Busy doing lots of talking, yet still saying very little.

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    KeithS

    Friday, June 6, 2014

  • She looks like a frightened ostrich.

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    mr mayhem

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • ..as do some of the comments!

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    marty r

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • Talk about a omission of the century!!!!! This is totally wrong and belongs to the preworld war one century when women where chattels.

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    dutchi

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • It would surely make more sense to worry about something that would get this country out of the hole that we were left in by Blair and Brown?

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    IT Man

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • I cannot blame the mother for not being on the Birth Certificate, she probably knew how useless her Daughter would be in later life , that's probably truth of the matter!

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    che bramley

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • Shame Miss Smith doesn't feel as strongly about taking her husbands name

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    sharon hunt

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • We all have an opinion,all has worked so leave it alone

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    Albert Cooper

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • The MP is quite right on this matter.

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    marty r

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • Its worked well since time immemorial,now every ones at it to make changes !

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    Albert Cooper

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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