Missing mothers: Plea to include mothers’ names on marriage certificates passes 25,000 signatures

A petition asking for mothers’ names to be included on marriage certificates has passed 25,000 signatures, 75 per cent of its 35,000 target.

The petition, published on change.org, appeals for a move away from the view in which marriage is seen as “a business transaction between the father of the bride and the father of the groom”. Currently, in England and Wales, marriage certificates include space for the name of the Father of the Bride and the Father of the Groom, with separate boxes allocated to each of their occupations. The mothers of the happy couple are excluded from this official documentation. In contrast, civil partnership certificates, as well as Scottish and Northern Irish marriage certificates, do supply room for the names of the bride and groom's mothers.

According to the petitioner, the lack of mothers' names on marriage certificates in England and Wales "is part of a much wider pattern of inequality. Women are routinely silenced and written out of history.”

The petition addresses Justin Welby, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Sarah Rapson, The Registrar General, and Sajid Javid of the Government Equalities Office. At the first news of the appeal, the Home Office said there were no plans for an overhaul of the current system.

The format of the English and Welsh marriage certificate has remained unchanged since the Births and Deaths Registration Act of 1837. As in any patrilineal society, tracing female ancestors is notoriously harder than uncovering the male line in family trees. The absence of mothers’ names on marriage documents contributes further to the phenomenon of invisible women ancestors. 

The journalist and feminist activist Caroline Criado-Perez has endorsed the campaign in an article in the New Statesman. Discussing her own considerations on whether or not to get married, she writes: “I cannot sully a relationship that means so much to me, by associating it with an institution that renders my mother worthless, invisible, surplus to requirements.” Like the 26,000 who have thus far signed the petition, she hopes that the addressees will soon make a change to this “antiquated and needlessly discriminatory state of affairs”.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Savvy Media Ltd: Media Sales executive - Crawley

£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible