The Erasure of Mothers from Marriage Certificates

In England and Wales, the name and occupation of the mother of the bride and groom do not appear on marriage certificates. This erasure of mothers from marriage certificates is, simply, the recognition of women as men’s property: moving from the possession of the father to the husband.

We fully support the Name Equality campaign’s goal to to have the name and occupation of mothers on marriage certificates. We urge everyone to sign this petition started by Ailsa Burkimsher Sadler.



These are just a few of the reasons women support this petition:

Silvana Gambini:  This is just another instance of women being rendered officially invisible. It’s an anachronism not to record the mothers’ data on the straight marriage certificate, particularly as, even in today’s society, women still bear the lion’s share of child rearing duties to raise children to be responsible adults who may want to enter the marriage contract. This is a small but significant change that would honour our mothers and also bring parity to all countries within the UK, whatever your sexuality.

Kate Jewell: I have been a Registrar since 2008 and believe the General Register Office should update the Marriage Registers and Certificates immediately. The introduction of same sex marriages in March 2014 is the perfect opportunity to do this. It would mean that the marriage registers and the marriage certificate stock will have to be redesigned but we need to get up to date on this.

Kathryn Epworth: My son’s father chose not to be involved in his life. I’m bringing him up alone. Why should someone who’s had no input into my son’s upbringing and takes absolutely no responsibility or him whatsoever get to be on his future marriage certificate, when I cannot? There must be hundreds of thousands of families in this situation. This is a completely outdated example of historical patriarchy. It needs changing.

Elizabeth Cook: I brought up my two children as a single parent, yet when they got married it was their father who was named on their marriage certificates, even though he had never supported them.

Bidisha ShonarKoli Mamata: Because women are human beings, not the possessions of men or husbands. And because many of us were brought up by brilliant, strong, tough, clever women, not by fathers who did not fulfil their responsibilities or do any respectful fathering or partnering.

Alison Michael: It may seem a small thing to some, but factors such as this are insidious and give the message that fathers continue to be more significant than mothers which is, thankfully no longer the case. Each parent is equally important, let us shrug off this remnant of our less than salubrious past.

Annita Kalau: Women exist too just in case anyone thought differently. Her story needs to be told as well as his story!

Margaret Roberts: Mainly for reasons of equality. But also I would have found it useful in tracing my genealogy.

Judith Thomas: Mothers are equally as important as fathers, and should appear equally on marriage certificates

Helen Willis: The patriarchal history of marriage should be but a footnote in our modern society. It is unbelievable that such an anomaly still exists and is allowed to continue. I am the child of two parents equally. If I were to marry I would expect either both (or alternatively neither) parents’ names be recorded. As a woman I am not a chattel to be passed from father to husband.