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Marriage certificate reforms move closer to becoming law in UK

File photo dated 5/2/2014 of groom cake decorations on a wedding cake . Civil partnerships rose last year for the first time since same-sex marriage was introduced, new figures show. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday September 26, 2017. Some 890 new partnerships were recorded in 2016 in England and Wales, up from 861 in 2015, a rise of 3%. See PA story SOCIAL Civil. Photo credit should read: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

By Richard Wheeler, Press Association Parliamentary Editor

Proposals to include mothers' names on marriage certificates in England and Wales have moved a step closer to becoming law.

The Registration of Marriage Bill cleared its latest stage in the House of Lords in little more than 30 minutes after peers approved a series of technical amendments, including curbing the powers of ministers over how to implement the changes.

The Bishop of St Albans's Bill introduces reforms to move from a paper-based system to an electronic register.

This would make it possible to included mothers' details, with the system since 1837 only providing space for the name of the father of each of the couple to be recorded.

Home Office minister Baroness Williams of Trafford, speaking at committee stage, said: "This situation is out-dated and it's widely accepted that changes are required to address this inequality."

Lady Williams said all the different family circumstances of society would be provided for under the new registration system, including same-sex parents.

She later added: "On the names of the parents, it will say 'mother', 'father', 'parent' for both parents.

"So that will allow for both children of opposite sex couples, same-sex couples and whatever we have to come."

The Bill still has stages to complete in the Lords before then moving to the House of Commons, where it will need to secure time on a Friday sitting to be considered by MPs.

Conservative former minister Dame Caroline Spelman, the Church of England's official representative in the Commons, has moved an identical Bill as the campaign for change seeks to achieve its aim as quickly as possible.

The Government supports the changes, boosting its chances of being implemented via the private members' bill process.

Pic by Rui Vieira/PA Wire

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