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Marriage Certificates

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 3rd July 2014.

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Photo of Huw Irranca-Davies Huw Irranca-Davies Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 9:30 am, 3rd July 2014

What steps she is taking to ensure that mothers' names are included on marriage certificates; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid Minister for Equality, The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

The content of marriage registers has not changed since civil marriage was introduced in 1837, so it is about time we took a further look. I have discussed this matter with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, and we are currently considering a range of options.

Photo of Huw Irranca-Davies Huw Irranca-Davies Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

The Minister has referred to a range of options. Given that Labour changed the law in respect of same-sex couples and adoption back in 2002, what consideration has he given to ensuring that any changes that may be made to marriage certificates reflect the fact that many individuals now have legal parents of the same sex?

Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid Minister for Equality, The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

I agree with the hon. Gentleman, who has raised a very important point. When the rules were drawn up in 1837, equality was not a priority for our society. Today, thankfully, it is, so those are just the kind of changes that we are considering.

Photo of Sharon Hodgson Sharon Hodgson Shadow Minister (Equalities)

Can the Minister tell us how much it would cost to bring marriage certificates into the 21st century? If he cannot, why are his colleagues in the Home Office team saying that it would be too expensive? What price do he and the Government place on equality?

Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid Minister for Equality, The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

If the hon. Lady had been listening carefully, she would have already heard the answer to that question; I talked about civil partnerships earlier. We have rightly said that when people are converting civil partnerships into marriage, having entered into those partnerships before same-sex marriage was available, we will waive the fee. I think that that demonstrates the Government’s priorities.