Couples in England and Wales can now officially add their mothers’ names, rather than just their fathers’, to marriage certificates.
The New York Times reports that the change has been in the works for several years, with legislation allowing both parents on certificates entering Parliament last month. Both Scotland and Northern Ireland already allow the names of both parents on marriage certificates and civil partnerships. In addition to the announcement that marriages will also be recorded in an electronic registry rather than books, the change to the registration process is the biggest since 1837.
In 2014, a petition calling on officials to update marriage registration to include both parents earned over 70,000 signatures. The Home Office said the change will “correct a historic anomaly” and was made in consultation with the Church of England.
“We are very pleased that the marriage registration system can now include the names of mothers as well as fathers on registers,” Reverend Dr. Malcolm Brown, the director of mission and public affairs for the Church of England, told SkyNews. “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.”