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'It's correcting a historical anomaly': Mothers to be included on marriage certificates for the first time

by Kelly Valencia

Mother's names in England and Wales will now be included in marriage certificates. 

Currently, only the father's name of both the bride and groom is included as a parent, a tradition that dates back to the 1830s when marriage laws were first introduced.

Speaking to Premier, Harry Benson, Research Director for the Marriage Foundation, said the change will make getting married more appealing. 

"The point is that marriage is still the single most successful way to bring up kids. It's not the only way, but it is by far the most successful way to bring up kids and for couples to stay together," he said. 

"If you want reliable love, you get married, and we need to make it as attractive as possible. And this is definitely one of those little barriers that people have complained about for years. And it's good that it's gone now."

Adding the mother's name in the certificate is part of a wider set of modifications to the Marriage Act that the Home Office announced. A spokesperson for the Home Office said the changes will see the process of getting married modernised and will help address the backlog of marriages. 

A new online system will also be put in place, replacing the traditional register books that were normally held in religious premises. The Home Office said the changes were correcting "a historic anomaly" and explained they were "the biggest changes to the marriage registration system since 1837". 

But there might be more changes coming soon. Benson explained plans to change the legal process of a wedding were being drawn up. 

"The Law Commission have made some very interesting proposals to change the way that the weddings are legalised. Instead of doing it through a building, we'll be able to do it through the person who conducts the ceremony. So, you'll be able to get married in the garden or a pub. And you'll be able to do it a lot cheaper than people tend to do today," he said. 

The Reverend Dr Malcolm Brown, director of mission and public affairs for the Church of England, said: "We are very pleased that the marriage registration system can now include the names of mothers as well as fathers on registers.

"Changing practices that go back many years is never straightforward, but we believe the new system changes as little as possible in terms of the couple's experience of their church wedding and that the clergy will find the new regulations become second nature very quickly."

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