Caroline calls for change of 'sexist' marriage certificates

Caroline is urging parliamentarians to join her in putting pressure on the government to change ‘sexist’ marriage certificates.

At present marriage certificates contain space for the name and profession of the father of the bride and groom – while mothers are excluded. Last year David Cameron accepted the need to change, yet there has been no action so far from his Government [1].

Lucas has tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament this week calling for the Prime Minister to honour his pledge. [2] The motion is signed by MPs from across the House of Commons.

Lucas said:

“The Government must act now to correct the blatant sexism of only having fathers’ details on marriage certificates.

“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.”

Members of the public are also using social media to put pressure on the Government to change marriage certificates. Using the hashtag #MothersOnMarriageCerts people are calling on Ministers to be true to their word by urgently put mothers names on marriage certificates.


Contact: Matthew Butcher on 07885 459 904 or

[1]  Last year Cameron said:

“The content of marriage registers in England and Wales has not changed since the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign.

“At the moment, they require details of the couples’ fathers, but not their mothers. This clearly doesn’t reflect modern Britain - and it’s high time the system was updated.

“So I have asked the Home Office to look at how we can address this.”


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Joanna ward
12th October 2015 16:03
This is outdated and needs changing stop writing women out of history !
Liz Lepere
13th October 2015 8:59
Hi Caroline, Absolutely agree and as a mum looking forward to the conclusion of the work. I am just a bit concerned that you are advising that mums name be written on the marriage certificate by the couple as that will render the certificate invalid.
Alison W
13th October 2015 17:43
As the daughter of a single (divorced) mother and a single parent myself, I or my mother would have to be "fathers" on the forms. Ridiculous and outdated. One of the many reasons why I will not (never) marry is due to the out dated sexist wording in the ceremony and on the forms. To this day I have never understood why a woman should "take a man's name" I am NOT the property of a man, I have always considered myself a person in my own right.
Matthew Kerr
14th October 2015 10:46
Dear Caroline, As someone who works for a local authority in the Registration service, I agree that there are a number of archaic practises that need to be updated. The Marriage Act was first enacted in 1837 and some things have not changed at all since then. Including only putting the father's name of marriage certificates. This should be changed, but trying to rush legislative changes through puts a tremendous pressure on local authorities who have to implement such changes; as happened with Same Sex Marriages. I don't feel your comments on Womans Hour suggesting that couples try to put the own mothers names on certificates were helpful. As a protest this will not impact on anyone other than the Registrars conducting ceremonies and the couples themselves. The Registrars will have to prevent such action as they are compelled to follow the current legislation, and this could lead to unpleasant scenes at weddings. Whilst I am sure your suggestion was made with the best intention, I am equally sure you would not want couples to have their special days negatively affected by their trying to follow some off-the cuff advice you gave in an interview. Perhaps you would like to visit your local register office to see the professional work that is done, and to help you understand the impact of legislative changes. Best regards Matthew