On Friday 2nd February, Conservative MP Tim Loughton’s Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill received its second reading in the House of Commons and I attended to lend my support. The Bill covered four areas: the registration of mothers’ names on marriage certificates, the extension of civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples, the registration of stillbirths before 24 weeks gestation and the ability of coroners to investigate stillbirths.
I was present for what proved to be an emotional debate and voiced my support in particular for the call to register mothers’ names on marriage certificates and explore the extension of civil partnerships.
I pointed out that while there are currently some 2 million single parents in the country of which around 90 per cent are women, as it stands these women are not able to be registered on their children’s marriage certificate. I called on the Government to use this opportunity to introduce further reform and efficiencies to the overall process of how marriages are registered, especially given that marriage entries are currently kept in some 84,000 registers across the country.
I told the House that I have received a lot of correspondence from constituents on the issue of extending civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples, many of whom wanted to have their relationship recognised in law but did not wish to marry. I acknowledged that in trying to eliminate one form of discrimination by introducing civil partnerships, the Government had unintentionally created another and I urged the Government to assess the demand for extending civil partnerships and the implications this may have on other area of policies. In closing, I said that “Britain has changed, attitudes have changed and it is time that the law caught up”.
I was pleased to have the opportunity to voice my constituents' concerns and speak in support of this important Bill. I was encouraged by the Minister’s response and hope that the Government doesn’t take too much time assessing whether and how to implement the changes this Bill calls for.